TEDxManhattan hosted a big live-streaming event this weekend on “Changing The Way We Eat” with all-kinds of notable speakers — including Tom Colicchio, Myra Goodman (co-founder of Earthbound Farm) and many others — addressing issues in the sustainable food and farming movement. Click here for all the live-streams, or simply start with Myra’s and Tom’s talk below.
Ways To Get Started
The following list gives you some ideas to get started (courtesy of Guide to Good Food)
1. Educate yourself — The following books are a great place to start learning about sustainable food questions: Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser, The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, Hope’s Edge by Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé, and Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel.
2. Shop sustainable — Where do you get your food? If you answered farmer’s market, CSA or food co-op, you are already concerned with sustainability. Wherever you shop, try to go for local, organic and/or sustainable items over their industrial, non-local counterparts. When buying meat and dairy, look for free-range, pasture-raised, and antibiotic free. Seek out items with less packaging or skip the packaging altogether by buying bulk items with your own bags.
3. Ask questions — One of the greatest benefits of buying your food straight from the farmer is talking directly with the person who grew the food. If your local grocery doesn’t carry local or organic foods, ask the manager about it! You’d be surprised at the buying power you plus a few friends possess.
4. Eat Less Meat — Meat, especially from industrial feedlots, is hugely energy intensive, requiring thousands of gallons of water and approximately 40 fossil-fuel calories for every edible calorie. When you do want to eat meat, go for grass-fed sources and make sure you support farms that raise their animals in a humane and sustainable way.
5. Eat seasonal — No matter the season, our supermarkets are filled with a vast array of produce from all around the world. But just because you can find a stalk of asparagus in January doesn’t mean you should eat it! Eating seasonally means buying produce that’s grown locally and eating it right away. Local food has a lesser environmental impact, is fresher, and is produced by your community. That means eating seasonally is healthier for you, your community and the environment! To find a Farmer’s Market near you, visit Local Harvest and check out Grow NYC’s list of greenmarkets and Just Food’s CSA finder.
6. Grow your own — There’s no better way to know your farmer than to be your farmer! Growing your own food like guerilla gardener Ron Finley guarantees the most healthful, freshest, and satisfying produce you can get your hands on. From a few herbs or sprouts in your kitchen window, to a full veggie patch at your local community garden, growing your own food is the coolest way to go green. For NYC dwellers, find a garden through Green Thumb.
7. Cook — Eating out poses many challenges to the sustainable eater. How and where does the restaurant get its ingredients? How much food do they throw away? What’s their water consumption? The only guaranteed way to know your food is prepared sustainable is to see the meal start to finish; from buying the ingredients, through the peeling, chopping, roasting, sautéing, and plating, clear to the last delicious bite.
8. Drink Local — Approximately 33% of the 2.4 million tons of PET plastic discarded every year is from water bottles—that means 800,000 tons of plastic water bottles will sit in a landfill for thousands of years before decomposing. Bottled water is no safer than tap water; in fact most bottled water is tap water! Trash the bottle and drink your local tap instead. To uncover more facts, watch the story of bottled water at Food & Water Watch.
9. Get Involved — Change happens because dedicated people like you support it. Decide on the issues that matter most to you and start or join the campaigns that protect them. Visit non-profits that are fighting for good, clean food like the Environmental Working Group and Slow Food USA to get started.
10. Enjoy! Eating can and should be the simplest joy we all have. Sharing a meal brings people together in a way that little else does. Knowing that the food you eat is grown with care for the environment, farmers, animals, and your own health will only add to your joyful food experience.