How to eat more sustainably?

  • We all know that reduced meat consumption is a pretty impactful thing you can do in your personal life. How else can we eat cleaner/greener?

  • Eating locally for sure! Sourcing most of your food from places close to where you live is a great way to reduce the carbon trail of your diet. It's crazy how much emissions are generated transporting food over long distances

  • @ericvanular a local diet is for sure a more sustainable way to eat! I think veganism gets a lot of attraction as an environmentally sustainable diet (which it totally is), but if it just doesn't seem like it would work for you, there are so many different ways to change up your diet a little bit here and there to make a great impact on the environment.
    The average distance food travels before hitting grocery store shelves is over 2,000km. Bananas travel over 5,000km to get to Canada. And grapes? Over 10,000km 🤯 that’s insane!

    I’m challenging myself to do the “100-mile diet” for a year, meaning everything I eat will be sourced from local farmers/bakers/wineries (with a few exceptions). Foremost, I want to learn new recipes and cooking methods with Canada’s seasonal produce as well as traditional preservation methods to store food through the winter.
    A really great resource I’ve found for Ontario’s seasonal food (+ recipes) is It’s a good place to start, even to consciously make an effort to choose local produce (squash, apples, rutabaga) when available is a good start to reduce your ecological footprint!

  • @briparks that is super admirable! Some really interesting numbers there - its head spinning to think about how far our food travels. Would love to keep up with your project - keep us posted! If you'd like, you can even start your own thread so we can follow your journey & learn from your experience

  • @ericvanular @briparks Very cool! I'm very interested to see how it goes too and learn more about what we can eat to stay healthy while also eating local through the winter.

  • @jamiroquai winter definitely is the tough part if you're in a northern climate

  • @briparks that's an awesome challenge! Where do you usually shop?

  • @kvigonic @capilano I live in Ontario, so I am fortunate to be surrounded by fields of agriculture but at the same time am definitely in a tough position to sustain a local diet throughout the winter climate. Local farmers markets are where I've been sourcing food the most, there are four in my area that operate year-round, so I take advantage of them! Otherwise, local bakeries and butchers are useful. Before starting this challenge, I have been relying on beans/plant-based proteins and try to reduce my meat intake to about three meals a week (always chicken/fish, never red meat). This I think will be the biggest challenge going forward as there is limited plant-based proteins grown in Ontario. Luckily, soy beans are locally grown and I've been in contact with a farmer who has a small greenhouse that produces soy year-round, so I intend on shopping from him quite a bit too. I've also been in contact with a network of greenhouse farmers that provide a produce delivery service throughout the winter that delivers weekly (the produce is all dependant on what is ripe and ready to eat) and will have to get a bit creative with recipes but that's also all a part of the fun!

  • @capilano Reducing your consumption of animal agricultural products is a great start! Another way to consume in a greener way is to try to reduce our packaging use and waste by shopping in bulk. I've been striving to become more zero waste and have been purchasing food in bulk. I bring my own containers and bags everywhere I shop. It's also an excellent way to save money. I learned last year that often as consumers we are paying more money for the packaging, rather than the product itself (which is crazy)! Good luck with everything 🙂

  • @briparks You inspire me so much, Bri! You definitely have pushed me to challenge myself for the fall and winter to find tangible ways to eat local.

  • @briparks I used to live in Maine, and tried to plan a single "100-mile" meal for my community. I found it incredibly difficult, and ultimately cheated a bit with, say, sugar and flour. I think the recipes on that site you share are "cheating" a bit with, say, olive oil, but it's still a super super cool resource. Better to get 90% of our food locally than 0%. Thanks for sharing.

  • @teddy It's wild to think how people must have coped even a few hundred years ago without access to even basic cooking staples as you've mentioned. What @briparks and you are striving for is really admirable. What meal did you end up cooking? I imagine in Maine it might have involved potatoes...

  • I have been playing around with growing hydroponic lettuce, arugula, and herbs in my house. During the winter the setup lives in my basement with a grow light and is moved into a three season sun room in the spring (still with the grow light).

    As far as offsetting food I would buy at the grocery store, the herbs have been the most effective. Not only do I not buy either fresh or dried herbs, which are expensive and travel a long way, it is easy to make a boring meal more interesting with some basic herbs. So, if it is turkey season, I try turkey with a different herb each day instead of buying other meats that have a bigger footprint.

    I cannot say it is 100% effective, but it offsets a couple meals a month.

    I have recently been doing research into microgreens, which is basically hydroponic sprouts. I have not grown any yet.

  • @bdavis829 This is really cool, I've actually been looking into hydroponic gardening and other contemporary gardening methods. A lot of these techniques are old made new again, they were traditional methods (or are modified traditional methods) of crop growing that were used pre-industrialization. Now that we understand the science behind them better, we are able to make them targeted and more efficient. Vertical gardening is one really cool concept that I've been looking at lately and I think your post about hydroponic growing has inspired me to open a thread about alternative/contemporary gardening methods so keep a look out for that and share more about your garden in there! I'm so interested to learn more about the maintenance of it and the cost of energy needed to maintain and grow the food. From your experience, is there a high initial cost to growing this way?

  • Just finished listening to this episode of Green Dreamer podcast and thought I’d share the link as it’s relevant to this topic:

    If anyone is unfamiliar with this podcast, check it out it is super thought provoking and exposes some awesome projects taking place!

  • Sometimes the goal of "eat local" is at odds with the goal of "eat plant-based". This tends to be more often true in the winter, especially as you go farther North! To help resolve this conundrum, this dilemma, I'd like to share an interesting bit of research.

    Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States (DOI:10.1021/es702969f)

    We find that although food is transported long distances in general (1640 km delivery and 6760 km life-cycle supply chain on average) the GHG emissions associated with food are dominated by the production phase, contributing 83% of the average U.S. household’s 8.1 t CO2e/yr footprint for food consumption. Transportation as a whole represents only 11% of life-cycle GHG emissions, and final delivery from producer to retail contributes only 4%. Different food groups exhibit a large range in GHG-intensity; on average, red meat is around 150% more GHG-intensive than chicken or fish. Thus, we suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than “buying local.” Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more GHG reduction than buying all locally sourced food.

    (emphasis mine)

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