I spent the first 27ish years of my life completely ignoring Earth Day, and maybe even mocking it a little. I was not interested. I kind of thought recycling was dumb (no I don’t know why, stop asking questions). I fell somewhere just shy of chucking plastic bottles out the window of my car and clubbing baby seals. (Oh come now. I’m kidding.) (Everyone knows the best way to kill a baby seal is to SHOOT it!)
Taste the rainbow. A veggie plate the husband put together.
Though I’ve always eaten meat I’ve also always loved veggies and fruits, and I frequently opt for vegetarian dishes. Up until recently, however, I never gave a thought to where my meat (or produce) came from.
Mozzarella and Veg salad thrown together last summer from Farmer's Market & garden finds.
A small disclaimer before I get into specifics: Choices about food are personal and complicated, and this is not a condemnation of anyone else's ways. We all have limited resources and different desires, priorities, and preferences. I get it. I do think our system is messed up, and in an ideal world we’d all eat a certain way that would be better for the earth. But in an ideal world my closet would also resemble Cher’s from Clueless soooo...
This is what I strive for, but I don’t do it 100% of the time. Sometimes Five Guys wins out. Because it is delicious.
Anyway. Here are some things that I’ve started doing differently over the past few years.
I don't purchase meat in grocery stores unless I know it was raised in a way I'm comfortable with. Whole Foods uses the Global Animal Partnership's Welfare rating system, which is helpful.
We have a wonderful butcher near us who features delicious products from farms nearby. We get our bacon, butter, and Thanksgiving turkeys from him. The butter is so good I want to cut off little chunks and eat it straight.
Last summer we started some garden beds, and we also started composting. We eat a lot of produce and now that we can toss the scraps in our compost we've significantly cut back on the amount of trash (and trash bags) we're throwing out. It also made me feel less guilty when we weren't able to make use of food from the farm share we tried last summer.
Our garden wasn't a huge success but we heard last summer was a tough one for growing, and we'll try again.
Something else I like to do - mostly because it's something I did with my mom growing up - is to go fruit picking and make my own jam. Making jam is EASY, fun to do with a friend (Hi, Laura!), and makes for great gifts. It's also a great way to use up fruit that's about to turn, if you've got an abundance from the garden or your farm share.
Someday I want to keep bees and chickens.
See? Five Guys. [A photo I inexplicably took of a food run while half-assedly documenting a bathroom remodel last summer. (I didn't photograph our food. Just the sign.) (Because bathroom remodels make you irrational.)]
For me the ‘green’ movement is leaning toward trendy, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing if it gets people thinking about it. The hard part, I think, is not getting sucked into the marketing that’s capitalizing on the trend (Truvia, you chemical in green clothing, I am looking at you.): Do your own research, be your own advocate, know that you really are what you eat.
If you’re interested in learning more or making some changes, here are some recommended starting places: Food Inc. Omnivore’s Dilemma. In Defense of Food. I also want to see Forks Over Knives, which comes out sometime soon-ish.
Do you do anything to keep 'green'? What's your food philosophy? Do you have any recommended books or movies for someone looking to learn more?
*All photo credits: Yours truly.