Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Green Living Tip #3 Eat Local

It's amazing how what we eat can help or hinder the environment. And eating more local food can go a long way towards helping the earth. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. Food that has traveled a long way to get to your local grocery store has spent a lot of hours on the road. Read, lots of gas used. Not only do gas fumes pollute the air, but we're also running short on oil.

2. Local food needs less pesticide, since the farmer doesn't have to keep it looking fresh as longer, for transportation purposes. Not only are pesticides bad for our bodies (and even more so for the bodies of our children), but it also pollutes the soil and ground water, and threatens to destroy various species of insects.

3. Fresh food tastes better! This isn't exactly a direct link to helping the environment, but it's as great way to get your kids to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. So you're training your kids to eat local, which means they'll be helping the earth too!

I highly recommend Barbara Kingsolver's book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, if you're looking for more information on the subject (and inspiration). It's the story of how she and her family spent a year eating only local food, much of it from their own garden.

It's tricky to find a lot of local food, but I've been trying to do it as much as I can. Farmer's markets are springing up all over the place, which is a great place to start. And if you live in a farming community, you may be able to find farming families who offer meat for sale as well as other items (I've been able to buy locally produced soap this way.). And check labels and stickers at your local grocery store. I've been able to find many local or somewhat local items this way, or I can at least pick the food that's traveled the least amount of miles to get to me. It also helps to eat fruit and veggies when they are in season, and available at your local farmer's market. I've been buying up bigger quantities of these in season items, and freezing them for the winter, which is good for my wallet, as well as for me, and the earth!

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