“How do we make it more sustainable? What does sustainable eating mean?” are essential questions many ask worldwide. As Bill Gates explains, “Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future.”
What we decide to put on our plates has a powerful impact on the environment — cue sustainable eating! Sustainable eating is choosing healthy foods for the environment and our bodies. Sustainable agriculture practices allow plant and animal products to be produced through minimally invasive techniques with low impact on our environment. You don’t have to be a sustainable farmer to eat more sustainably; there are other ways to catch the sustainable eating train. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Try growing something
The experience of growing a plant and observing the steps that make a plant thrive can influence your views of food consumption. Shifting towards a more plant-based way of eating can also help reduce deforestation and freshwater usage. Plant vegetables and fruits in a pot, in your garden, wherever you can, and be and feel a part of the sustainable eating community.
2. Eat seasonally
We have access to “fresh” produce all year round, imported and exported from far away. We can focus on foods available in the season where we live. Try reinventing your dishes by swapping out the seasonal old with the seasonal new. You can simultaneously be more experimental in the kitchen while supporting sustainable eating.
3. Start conversations about food
We, humans, are social beings, so it’s only fitting to put this sociality into use; chat with personnel at your grocery store, talk to restaurant owners about their menus and ask farmers questions about their crops. By initiating a conversation about food, you can learn about new resources, discover tips and tricks, and locate the most sustainable food producer in your area.
4. Practice mindful eating
The simple act of focusing on what you are eating and being present at that moment can allow you to visualize the source of the food and its effect on your body. Tracing back the steps taken to put that one leaf of romaine in your salad may help you manage your hunger signals, making you rethink resizing your meals. Mindful eating increases your appreciation for food, supporting sustainable eating efforts.