Guest Author - Caitlin McLeod
In this time of planetary unrest and environmental vulnerability, how can we help sustain the planet through the foods we eat? There are many new choices about food we can make that will sustain and nourish our bodies, our earth, and our families.
The most obvious way is for people to grow their own produce and to cut back on consumption of red meats. Cattle and sheep consume huge amounts of pasture-land, corn, hay, and grass, and the meat from these animals is quite expensive. These pastures could be better used for raising organic produce instead, thus feeding more people and renewing our resources.
If you dont have any soil for raising a garden, one can grow quite a lot in containers. Or you can buy into a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. This works by the customer purchasing a membership with an existing farm; the farmers grow the produce and deliver a box or basket of fresh produce to each customer every week.
You can also purchase fresh produce from local farm stands, farmers markets, and from local natural foods stores. Buying local, and buying organically raised produce, is a great way to ensure good nutrition for yourself and your family, as well as the best way to help sustain the farmers and the planet. Organic farming puts nutrients back into the soil, and allows rest periods between plantings in the same location.
Conventionally raised produce and animals contain huge amounts of toxic herbicides and pesticides, which in turn drain the soil of vital nutrients and minerals, leaving the foods lacking in nutrition and potentially toxic. While conventional vegetables, fruits, and meats may be less expensive than those raised organically, the price to the environment and to your health is quite heavy. As the soil becomes depleted and tarnished with chemical run-off, the microcosm of each field is thrown out of whack, ground water becomes polluted, and the whole planet suffers.
Apart from farm-raised produce and meats, it would help the planet and our bodies if everyone could purchase organically grown nuts, grains, beans, seeds, flours, and even packaged goods. The nutritional value is worth the extra cost of ingredients.
Cooking your own meals from scratch is also much healthier than buying pre-packaged foods from supermarket shelves or ready-made meals from hot and salad bars. Home cooked meals are just so much fresher and better tasting. No time to cook? You might want to consider hiring a personal chef to cook weekly meals for you and your family!
I encourage everyone to either grow their own produce, or to purchase organically raised fruits and vegetables from local farmers. Buy local, buy organic, drink plenty of fresh, purified water, and limit your intake of foods raised in other countries, since transporting those foods leaves a huge carbon footprint on the earth. (Yes, I too love bananas and chocolate! One can make a few exceptions here and there.) Enjoy great food!