By Peg Champion, Principal of Champion Organic Communications and Board Member of Slow Food South Bay
It’s simple to eat responsibly, healthily and economically. Here are 11 things you can do starting today:
Shop at farmers’ markets and subscribe to a CSA (community supported agriculture organizations).
Support small farms, artisan producers and heirloom varieties.
Buy whole, unprocessed “real” food – and if there are labels, read them.
Learn to cook.
If you can, start a garden.
Eat sustainable seafood. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has excellent informational Seafood Watch wallet cards that indicate “best choices, good alternatives and fish to avoid.”
Eat organic foods. Learn which foods you must buy organic and which are okay to buy conventionally. The Environmental Working Group has a Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 wallet card. Carry it for an easy guide when you shop.
Use meat as a condiment. Eating less meat is better for you and better for the planet.
Support Fair Trade foods. Fair Trade is a market-based approach that promotes sustainability and helps farmers in developing countries obtain better trading conditions.
Conventional, Industrial or Factory Farms These farms produce crops using chemical fertilizers, herbicides and insecticides and give antibiotics, growth hormones and medications to animals.
Environmental Sustainability Development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Heirloom Variety, Heirloom Plant A common cultivar previously grown on family farms, but no longer used in modern, industrial agriculture.
Organic Food Food produced without synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods do not contain genetically modified organisms and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. The state of California enforces laws to qualify and certify foods labeled “organic.”
Processed Food Food manufactured or chemically altered using additives such as flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, emulsifiers, etc.
Sustainable Agriculture A way of raising food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides a fair wage to the farmer, and supports and enhances rural communities.
For more information, read Slow Food: Eating Well for Good