Earth Day 2018 is here! And while you’re likely to read today, here on The Inquisitr and elsewhere, how changes to your lifestyle can help the environment, one topic that may get overlooked in the discussion is food. As it turns out, what you eat and how you get your food can both have an impact on the environment.
To be fair, some of the ways that will help the environment, at least as far as food goes, are a little extreme. No one is going to suggest that you go vegan or freegan and start dumpster-diving for your food. Rather, this will focus on some simple, but also effective, ways you can alter how you acquire your food to help out the environment.
Grow It Yourself
A few generations ago, growing food in your garden wasn’t just a quaint hobby: it was a necessity to keep food on the table. Even if the family breadwinner made good money, growing your own food — and by extension, preserving it through canning, smoking, freezing, etc. — helped cut some much-needed dollars off of the family grocery budget.
The good news is that even Americans who live in tightly-packed urban areas have the opportunity to grow their own food. That’s because, as The New York Times reported in 2015, cities such as London and The Big Apple have been offering up abandoned patches of ground for collaborative, urban farming.
According to Mother Earth News, even a 100-square-foot patch of garden — that is, a 10-foot by 10-foot patch — can grow $700 worth of food in a year. If you have access to a larger lawn, the more space you devote to gardening, the more of your own food you can produce.
Of course, not everything you want to eat can be produced in your average back yard, and some foods you’ll have to source from outside. That’s fine, but whenever possible, go local. If you live in, or near, an urban area, or if you otherwise have access to a farmer’s market, by all means use it!
As Ecowatch reports, the food you buy at farmers markets wasn’t trucked across the country, like grocery store food, reducing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere to get it to you. Further, farmers who produce food for such markets are more likely to practice sustainable agricultural practices that are better for the environment than factory farming. And most importantly, farmers market food tastes better and is more nutritious!
You Can Even ‘Grow Your Own Meat’ – Sort Of
No, this article isn’t about how you can raise pigs or beef cattle in your back yard. But you can be directly involved in the production of your meat, and skip the middle man (even if that middle man is a farmer’s market), thanks to a process called “collaborative farming.”
As The Youth Food Movement explains, the process goes by several names, and varies from user to user, but in essence works like this: the customer “buys” a calf, piglet, number of chicks, or so on, from a farmer, at or below market price. In addition to that fee, the customer pays the farmer some money for that animal’s share of the feed, veterinary care, and so on, that he will consume over his life; and in some schemes, the customer pays a fee for butchering. Then, when the animal is old enough to slaughter and harvest, the customer is given the meat.
It’s farm-to-table in the most literal possible sense.
No one said that saving the Earth was going to be easy – and indeed, it’s going to take a Herculean effort on the part of citizens and governments alike. But doing something is better than nothing, and if you take the time to be more local, and more direct, in how you produce even some of your food, you’re going to make a difference. And in the process, you’re going to save money, and the money you spend is going to go into the pockets of your local farmers rather than agricultural conglomerates.