Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Resolution Solution

Most people make New Yyear's Resolutions, and most people don't keep them. Oh, they start out in goodf faith, but then they're smoking again, or eating too much, or not exercising enough, or still having sex with the neighbor's husband while she's at work.

None of those are me, by the way, especially not that last one. But instead of resolving not to do something, resolve to do something. Like getting more sustainable foods into your diet this year. And by diet, I mean the foods you eat, not that JennyCraigWeightwatchingNutriSystemSouthBeach crap.

Here's a list of 10 ways to go sustainable in '10:

  • Visit the farmers market. We have one here in Smallville which is open March to November, and one in Columbia open year-round. Find where yours are and visit them once a week or even once a month. The vendors are friendly and will be happy to talk to you about their goods, and it's also good for your local economy. Find an option close to your home at Local Harvest.
  • Join a Community Supported Agriculture [CSA]. You pay up front and then a box of veggies arrives regularly all summer. Just be aware that you'll probably have more leafy greens that you can shake a stick at.
  • Start a garden. It doesn't get more locally grown than it does from your own backyard. Now, while I know this isn't an option for all of us--some people are like "Yard? Who has an effing yard?"--but look up urban farming and you can probably find some place nearby for you and your hoe.
  • Learn to can. With all those fruits and veggies exploding out of your yard, you can store them properly for the winter. You can eat fresh and local long after the garden has gone to seed for the season. If canning is too daunting--and I talking about me here--maybe you could freeze your excess veg. Yeah, that works, and it's easier.
  • Eat less meat. Factory farming has made animal agriculture the No. 1 contributor to global warming. Eating factory-farmed animals--which is to say virtually every piece of meat sold in supermarkets and prepared in restaurants--is almost certainly the single worst thing that humans do to the environment. Use meat as a side--think veggie stir fry with noodles and a little bit of meat--or concentrate on animals less intensive to produce, like goose.
  • If you cannot give up the meat, then do a meat-share with friends. Buying direct from the farmer is great if you have friends with whom to split the purchase, You'll need a lot of friends or a ginormous freezer.
  • Cook seasonally. Avoid asparagus in September and broccoli in May. Check out what's in season near you on Epicurious' seasonal ingredient map.
  • Buy frozen fish. Yup, frozen. One of the lowest-impact ways to eat fish caught far away is to buy it frozen. Of course, if you happen to live next to the ocean and can access its bounty directly, then forget this advice. But if you're in, say Smallville, and looking at Alaskan Halibut, try the freezer aisle.
  • And text, yes, text, FishPhone. Blue Ocean Institute's FishPhone service will tell you whether the fish you're thinking of buying is a sustainable pick. Text the word FISH and the name of the fish you want to buy to the number 30644, and you'll get back a message giving you thumbs-up or -down.
  • Forage. Food is growing all around us. If only we had eyes to see it. Pick fruit from trees overhanging public spaces, seek mushrooms and other edible plants in local woods (only if you know how to avoid poisoning yourself) or, if you're brave, try dumpster diving, also known as "urban foraging."
Now, I'm not suggesting doing all of these. i mean, the whole politically correct business of urban foraging is not for me, and we don't eat a lot of red meat--actually, we eat no red meat--but some of these tips are better than none of them.

Plus, food will taste better, and it'll be better for you.

Just sayin'.

Thanks to change.org for the list and links.


Kyle said...

Love the list Bob. Even if people only adopt a few of these, it means a great deal in terms of better personal health and less environmental impact.

Lou said...

In NZ we're having to be increasingly aware of food miles as non seasonal food has to travel so far to get to us. I use a local farmers market and stick with in season fruit and vegetables (almost always).

Wonder Man said...

great list, Bob

Mark in DE said...

Yeah, picking one or two of these things would probably be doable. But you will NOT find ME doing any "urban foraging". I'm just sayin'.

Joy said...

Good list!