Written by Alessa Pomerantz | Reviewed by Adiana Castro, MS, RDN, CDN, CLT
Sustainability: it’s a hot topic, but what does it mean, and why does it matter? We all need to eat, but does it really make a difference if we choose items that are “local” or “organic?” It sure does! Buying organic, locally grown foods helps small businesses continue to produce naturally nutrient rich produce. These foods are always in season and do not have to be shipped across thousands of miles. Sustainability is about changing the way we work, which means reducing food waste, travel, packaging, and processing. The idea is to change from the factory back to the farm when it comes to food. By adopting a sustainable lifestyle, you will eat more natural, nutrient rich foods, and help make the planet a better place.
Sustainable food is a type of food production that is both humane and environmentally conscious. Sustainable farmers grow their produce and raise animals without pesticides, antibiotics, and hormones. They also practice nutrient cycling, which helps crops maintain their fertility. These practices are great for the environment because they keep crops healthy and nurtured so they can produce in season crops to their fullest potential.
This food system has become more achievable and accessible to everyone. You can find local and organic produce and meats at butcher shops, farmers markets, and most grocery stores. Also, many contemporary restaurants are focused on fresh, in season, local ingredients as well as other sustainable efforts such as recycling and energy efficiency.
Besides shopping local, there are many other ways to practice sustainability at home. Consider starting a garden! A great way to your garden is by composting, which will give your garden the nutrients it needs to grow. It will also keep you aware of where your trash is going. If you have no space or time, an herb garden in the window is delicious and easy to maintain. A large part of sustainability is being eco-conscious. Using reusable water bottles helps to cut down on waste from plastics. It is also good to be mindful of how much energy you are using, so turning off unnecessary lights and electronics are a great way to reserve energy.
Sustainability is a lifestyle devoted to whole foods and environmental longevity. Through composting, promoting organic farming practices, using reusable water bottles, recycling, and shopping local we can all make a difference. By adapting even a few of these actions, we can help care for the planet that nurtures us.