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Sustainable Eating and Your Connection to Nature

by Amy Lizee

radishes

As humanity faces the biggest challenge it has ever faced – to live sustainably on this wonderful and mysterious blue-green planet – all of our habits and assumptions have come under question. What we eat, of course, has been no different.

Highly processed foods stripped of nutritional value, meats tainted with antibiotics, steroids, hormones, and a witches brew of pharmaceuticals, and farm fields exterminated of most of their organic, interconnected vibrancy are just a few of the things that we must change if future generations of people (and animals, insects, bacteria, plants, and so on) are to live well on Earth far into the future.

Fortunately, all around the world in lots of unique ways, people are (as always) experimenting with different ways of tending soils, growing food, and transporting food with one goal in mind: sustainable living. Here are some ideas that might be able to help you live a little more in tune with our home planetβ€”at least when it comes to eating.

Try to buy locally grown, certified organic food.

Why? Buying local cuts down on your food miles, which means less gasoline or diesel burned to transport food, and fewer pollutants emitted out of diesel truck tailpipes or ship or plane exhausts. The price of oil, gasoline, and diesel gives the lie to the illusory permanence of this type of transportation-intensive food system.

By buying locally you reduce transportation pollution. Then, the organic certification ensures that the food is held to a high quality standard and that the farmers don’t use chemical herbicides and pesticides when the food is grown.

Eat less meat

Meat is an indirect way to get calories. It take up more land to produce fewer calories, since first food must be grown on land and then, instead of feeding that food to humans, it goes to animals. Cows, chickens, pigs and so on use a lot of their food calories on bodily functions that don’t translate into food for humans.

Grow it yourself

The old adage “if you want something done right, you should do it yourself” holds true here.

In a way, homegrown food is taking “locally grown food” to the extreme. Depending on the size and the available equipment, a backyard or container garden can be a lot of work, but compared to the hundreds or even thousands of miles some food travels, it’s an immense improvement. Even if you’re in a cramped urban apartment, you can still grow some windowsill herbs.

Another benefit to growing your own is that you don’t have to drive anywhere (unless you have a really, really big yard) to get your food. This can cut down on carbon emissions and other emitted pollutants while saving you gasoline. Plus, you can bring food over to your neighbors, which builds community.

The fact that your fresh fruits and produce taste absolutely delicious is simply scrumptious icing on the sustainability cake. You can even eat food out of season by canning it after you pick it. This can keep you eating your own harvest all year long.

Many people find that working in the sun and dirt (and sometimes mud) of their garden with nothing but seeds, a watering can or hose, patience, and a willing body has both physical and mental benefits. The hours of fresh air you get doing this is not directly working towards your goal ofΒ  sustainable living, however it is a great time for you to make that connection with nature.

Western culture for the most part has a huge disconnect with its food. This is largely due to the fact that most people go to the store and pick up already packaged food.Β  Growing your own food is a great way of bringing back your appreciation of food and your connection with nature.

Environment911.org is an interactive website for individuals to come and discuss the environment from green business to natural disasters. We feel it is important for people to come together and share their thoughts, ideas and visions for the future. The more we can communicate what is happening in our world, the more people can be educated and the more we can progress. Beyond Environment911.org you can find us on Facebook and Twitter where we are continuing to spread the message about our global environment and the impact that we have on it every day.

[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo via La Grande Farmers’ Market]

2 comments
  1. Lauren @ MRS

    I wish we had enough space in our area to cultivate a decent array of edible plants. Shame, 3/4ths of our area is concrete. One of my life goals is to live in the country, and perhaps I can accomplish it then.

    1. Catherine

      I grow my edible garden in pots. I am finding that pots work almost as well. There is a great garden planter from Earth Box.http://www.amazon.com/EarthBox-1010002-Garden-Terra-Cotta/dp/B000JUW8RE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1312197834&sr=8-3. It is high enough to keep kritters away and everything comes with it. The tomatoes I am growing in it look amazing. This is a great way to grow zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and cucumbers, to name a few. You just have to look at your patch of cement in another way, as a place to have a potted garden. They can be quite lovely! Good luck!

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