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Choosing Food for a Healthy Family and a Healthy Planet
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by Bonnie Lane Weber | 2006

Sustainable consumption begins at the kitchen table.

Sustainable consumption is the use of goods and services that satisfy basic needs and improve quality of life while minimizing the usage of irreplaceable natural resources. We all need to consciously think about our food choices in terms of sustainability and appreciate the effect these choices have on the environment. Here are some ideas and suggestions to consider implementing in your personal food choices to help minimize our impact on the environment through the food we eat:


 uEat lower on the food chain. Raising grain and vegetables for human consumption is more efficient than feeding it to animals, which are then in turn eaten by humans.

 uMake food choices without regard to advertising, and teach your children to think independently about the food they eat. Large food companies spend as much money to influence our food choices as is spent to influence tobacco sales – their goals are not the same as yours.

 uEat the greatest variety of the least processed food.

 uBuy locally grown food and/or organically grown food. The further food is shipped to arrive at its consumer, the more pollution it creates through fossil fuel-based means of transportation. Some food grown overseas is doused with chemicals that are not allowed to be used here in the U.S. Purchasing organic and locally grown food cuts down on the amount of chemicals going into the soil and water (and into our food), and pollution going into the air.

 uShop at farmers’ markets. Find farmers markets on Eat at local restaurants that use local farmers’ products. Ask in restaurants and stores where the food is from. Encourage them to buy locally. Compliment them on the delicious local items that they do carry.

 uAsk food store managers to stock locally-grown items when they are available and in-season. Many food store managers say that if they get two requests for a product, they will stock it. Our voices and dollars do count!


Reprinted from 3000 Miles, the newsletter of the Sierra Club Sustainable Consumption Committee, Spring 2004.


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