My food is an international commodity!
It's true! The food we buy at our local grocery stores comes from all over the world. Apples from Australia, bell peppers from Holland, ginger from Thailand, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and acorn squash from Mexico.... Grapes from Chili, shrimp from Indonesia, coffee from Columbia, etc. Many of these items end up in my cart ever single week. Wow, have you ever stopped to wonder what the carbon footprint of our food is, or what would happen if even one country decided they would discontinue supplying their food products to the US? Kind of scary to think about, right? How can protect and insure a sustainable food supply?
1. Buy Local: Support your local growers by purchasing your fruits, vegetables, meats, diary, and eggs from farmers markets or community supported agriculture (CSA) organizations. Sometimes farmers markets can be on the expensive side, but their prices reflect actual production costs (no subsidies for local growers!). Making an effort to shop at farmers markets just once a month can make a difference.
2. Eat seasonally: You don't see raspberries and apples growing in the middle of winter in the US, but international food makes it possible to enjoy many fruits all year long. Vegetables are more abundant in winter. Try eating more domestic carrots, cabbage, and potatoes varieties in the winter.
3. Preserve summer time favorites to enjoy all winter long: Use canning techniques to preserve apple sauce, tomatoes, peaches, pears and more.
4. Start a garden at home: Gardening is not only a great way to insure sustainable food, it's also a wonderful way to gain appreciation for the delicate ecosystems and bio-cycles that keep Earth alive. And, it can reduce stress! There are SO many benefits to gardening.
5. Check labels: Take a moment to read your produce labels and find out where your favorite fruits and veggies come from. Try buying all of your produce from America and notice what you discover. Is there less in your cart? Can you find as many organic items? Are the costs more expensive or less than food from foreign lands? Please, let me know what you discover by posting a comment below. Becoming more aware of where our food comes from is important, and being a mindful shopper and reading labels can help with that. The other day, I peeled a label off of my tomato that read, "Limited Edition, Organic Tomato, from Mexico." Kind of ironic, no?