Local and Seasonal Eating 101

As a dietitian, I got into sustainability via my food choices. As I went through nutrition school, I began to really ponder my food philosophy. What did I believe about my food? How did I want to interact with the food system? How did I want to participate in the greater picture - in the global picture?

I have always felt a deep love for the earth and once I saw the correlation between my food choices and their environmental impact- I was all in.

I STARTED my instagram out of this love. A love for local and seasonal foods. Supporting our local food culture. Supporting local farmers and growers. Supporting those who are working with the earth- not taking from it.

I realized there were many environmental and personal benefits to eating locally and seasonally!

The local food movement is an alternative to the global food model where food travels long distances to reach our supermarket shelves. “Food Miles” have a big environmental impact. Transporting food contributes to greenhouse gas emission and therefore, global warming/climate change.

Local food also promotes a relationship between the consumer and the producer. Very little gives me greater happiness than Saturday morning farmer’s markets! Being able to speak directly to the people who produce your food is a priceless joy that relatively few take the time to invest in. 

When you buy local meats, veggies, dairy etc, you know that you are doing what you can to further small business, promote environmental health, support animal welfare, and of course, invest in the health of your family. 

Benefits of eating locally

  1. Reduced food miles and therefore, reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

  2. When buying locally, you by default, eat in season. This means your food is going to have maximum flavor and nutritional value!

  3. You are supporting local small business and your local economy!

  4. You help maintain farmland and green space in your area and therefore, you contribute to regenerative agriculture!

  5. You get to try new and fun produce specific to your area! I’m telling you- nothing is more culinarily inspiring than a stroll at the market!

  6. As you buy more local foods, you will find you naturally buy less industrialized and processed foods- which is a win for you and the environment!

98D781B2-57EC-4B0E-9868-0892B2AF067E.JPG

If you’re new to all of this, I know it can seem quite overwhelming! LIKE WHERE DO I EVEN START?! So here are my tips for local eating! 

E A T I N G L O C A L 1 0 1

  1. Know what is in season in your region. This is a great resource for that. This is especially helpful to keep in mind when you are shopping at a grocery store! (If you are shopping at the farmer’s market, it is by default going to be seasonal.) If something is in season in your area, that probably means that it had to travel less distance to get to your grocery store shelves! For example, if it is summer in the Carolinas, opt for the summer squash vs the butternut squash! When a product is not in season, it will either be grown in a hot house or shipped in from some place in the world that it is in season. The taste and quality difference between something that is vine ripened and something that is shelf ripened is undeniable.

  2. Go to the farmer’s market! Do a quick google search (use this site!) for farmers markets in your area- typically they are on Saturday mornings.

  3. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). These programs are designed to connect local farmers/growers with the consumers. Typically, you will purchase “a subscription” for the season or year. Local farmers will put together a basket of produce that varies based on availability and season. (How fun is that?!) Read more about them here.

  4. Find your local co-op! Co-ops are basically locally run grocery stores. They are a great place to find local and organic foods at a less costly price. See what options are in your area at localharvest.org.

  5. Plant a garden. If this sounds like too much work, simply growing your own herbs on a window is not only as LOCAL AS IT GETS, it also saves you money!

  6. Stop at that random farm stand on the side of the road.

  7. Go to U-Picks! Berries and peaches are a very popular food group for this type of thing. It’s also a fun experience for kiddos! 

  8. Support farm to table restaurants! Visit restaurants that practice farm to table by supporting and purchasing from local growers and famers.

  9. Invest in organic and fair trade when possible. Probably not everything you might need can be bought locally. Such as coffee, chocolate, sugar, etc. When this is the case, I encourage buying organic and fair trade when possible  and within your budget! Fair trade will help promote communities through agricultural development and ensure a fair wage for their labor and product.


I hope this was helpful for you all!

Let me know in the comments below! And share my graphic with your friends- I’d much appreciate it! <3

xo,

meg

Local and Seaonal Eating 101 (2).jpg

SEED THE REVOLUTION:  Hemp is now legal to grow in the US! Here is what that means.

I’m often asked about my stance on agriculture. And the way I respond each time is: I believe in the power of regenerative agriculture.

This effects and dictates how I practice sustainable living and my consumer choices every single day, especially in my food and clothing choices.

This is why when First Crop reached out to me to collaborate in their Seed the Revolution campaign to raise awareness on the regenerative power of hemp, I was ecstatic.

IMG_9309-2.jpg

These days, there is a lot of talk about reducing our carbon footprint, but there is not enough talk about sequestering the carbon that is already in the atmosphere. 

Why is this important? 

Friends, according to the world scientists who study climate change, we need to collectively reach carbon neutrality by year 2040. In order to achieve neutrality, simply reducing our greenhouse gas emissions is not enough -we must pull back and capture what is already there. Escaped greenhouse gasses (carbon being one of them) is trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere and heating up the earth’s temperature.

Last October, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued a chilling report. In it, some 90 world climate scientists from 40 countries concluded that if humans don’t take immediate action to reduce global warming, extreme conditions such as droughts, devastating wildfires, massive floods, deadly hurricanes, and widespread famines will be commonplace.

So the big question is this: how do we sequester carbon?

Well, the Earth naturally sequesters carbon on it’s own! (Mother Nature wins again.)

Vegetation, the oceans, soil - these things naturally capture and store carbon. Therefore, reforestation, preserving wet lands & and restoring the vitality to our soils is incredibly important in our escape from global warming.

This is where First Crop and HEMP come into play.

Healthy soils sequester and hold on to carbon. Unfortunately, commercial agriculture destroys soils, strips them of their richness and in turn, contributes to the global warming crisis. Their methods are far from traditional and far from the way Mother Nature intended. Soils must be regenerated and tended to. When they are not, they will eventually be useless for growing and for carbon sequestration.

We need a regenerative movement - AND WE’RE LOOKING AT YOU, HEMP.

Hemp is a naturally regenerative plant and the ultimate soil healing catalyst, with a unique ability to remove pollutants from the soil, take carbon out of the air and store it back into the earth. 

The power of hemp:

  1. It can thrive in a variety of climates and soil types.

  2. It has a fast growing rate and therefore, higher yields.

  3. It is naturally resistant to most pests and therefore, does not need herbicides, fungicides or pesticides.

  4. It has the ability to remove toxins and pollutants from the soil and groundwater through a process called photo-remediation.

  5. It absorbs carbon dioxide via photosynthesis.

  6. It makes a durable textile and uses half as much land and water as cotton.

  7. It is a superfood- hemps seeds, hemp oil, CBD everything.

  8. It can be used to make paper and therefore can save our trees.

I could go on… but I think you get the gist! Hemp is a Super Plant if there ever was one.

 This is the heart behind First Crop. First Crop believes that our soils and farmers, particularly our small to mid-sized farmers, can be greatly empowered with hemp as part of their cultivating activities. First Crop hopes that farmers will begin to integrate hemp into their fields as it not only has great benefit to them as growers, but to the world and the climate condition as it is.

First Crops is standing alongside farmers to help and ensure that their hemp crop is not only successful, but that it is optimized for its ultimate use in its CBD health and consumer products. They even subsidize hemp farming inputs to lower the upfront costs for farmers. Currently, the company is supporting farmers with 150+ acres of hemp under cultivation in Colorado and New Mexico and is working with its farming partners and community leaders to revitalize the local economies there. 

It’s a win for the environment, it’s a win for the farmer, and it’s a win for the consumer.

“Our ‘soil to soul’ regenerative hemp ecosystem is a truly collaborative effort that empowers farmers at every step to grow and integrate this miracle crop into their cultivation activities,” - co-founder, Michael "Mr. Hemp" Bowman.

What can you do to support:

  1. Support hemp products. When you buy hemp derived products, you are essentially voting YES to the hemp industry and helping to propel its place in the US. You are supporting small-medium sized farms that are invested in regenerative practices.

  2. Spread the word about hemp! Many people are misinformed about hemp. The truth is, CBD is not the same as marijuana! It is not psychoactive and will not get you high, but it may help anxiety, pain, digestion, and more. Furthermore, with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is now legal to grow in the US! Hooray!

  3. Support the First Crop efforts to Seed the Revolution by joining the campaign. This campaign is to support Amiercan Farmers to help them plant their First Crop of legal hemp and help heal people and the planet.

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

[This post sustainability sponsored by First Crop]