Growing up, we’re sure you heard “eat your veggies!” on a regular basis. Thankfully for all the picky eaters out there, eating green doesn’t necessarily mean literally.
While most experts are still undecided about the concrete health benefits of an organic diet, there are ecological benefits to chowing down on organic grub. Organic farms use no synthetic chemicals, which can impact the local eco-system and leave a harmful carbon footprint. Organic farms also steer clear of pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones, and are generally known for a more humane treatment of animals. “Grass-fed,” “free range” and “no hormones added” are all phrases to look out for. Be sure that your choices carry the proper labels to ensure that the food you’re purchasing is, indeed, organic and not simply the product of creative marketing efforts.
On the flip side, large farms that produce organic crops may employ agricultural practices that deplete water and soil resources, and are ultimately unsustainable. This level of unsustainability is largely due to the recent explosion in popularity of organic foods and the organic lifestyle. So what’s a “go green” girl or guy to do?!
Focusing on locally grown produce/meat and locally caught seafood, etc. often has a more positive impact on the environment than following an organic diet. Shopping at farmer’s markets, gardener’s markets and other local mom-and-pop shops that harvest or grow their own products is not only a great way to support your local economy, but this practice also cuts down on negative ecological consequences.
Another way to reduce your environmental impact is to eat less beef/meat and dairy. Experts estimate that by including meat in your diet only one day a week (or less), we can reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 51 percent.
Growing an at-home veggie or herb garden is another great way to eat green, and it’s also a wonderful way to teach the kids about sustainability and gardening!
So go ahead, head out to your local farmer’s market, and depending where you live, get out in the garden, grab a knife and fork and let’s go green!