February 24, 2011

Sustainable Eating Plans for 2011

A LARGE MOTIVATION for our moving to a town with affordable housing was the opportunity to implement sustainable eating habits within our own back yard and community.

Our objectives: to live in a scenario where our food choices (as often as possible) are either home-grown, or derived locally, preferably pesticide and antibiotic free and organic.

We're not a vegetarian family by any means -- in fact, we tend to argue against Veganism as a healthy, ethical endeavor as we feel it is founded more on misinformation and dogma than fact. What we are about is sustainability and knowledge -- a way to know exactly where your food comes from, how it is harvested or killed, and how to minimize the steps it takes en route to our dinner plates.

With this all in mind, here's a list of our Sustainable Eating Plans for 2011:

  1. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - This year we bought shares in Creek Shore Farms, located about 10 minutes from our house. We give them the money up front, and over the course of the summer and most of the fall we get a box of organic, pesticide-free produce each and every week. Ontario has a great CSA website that allows consumer to find participating farms near them. Well worth it and surprisingly affordable. 
  2. Grass Fed Beef - Also affiliated with with CSA, we purchased a quarter cow from a farm, which we will keep in our freezer for the year. The benefits of grass-fed, wild meat are immense and well-documented. Most industry practices are to corn-feed their cattle to fatten them up -- an almost perversity when considering cows cannot digest corn. 
  3. Gardening - I'm rather glad I grew up with a father who loved to garden. While there's work involved, back yard gardening is not as difficult or complicated as you might think. Our backyard -- nicely landscaped as it is -- will soon be invaded by 4x4' gardening boxes hosting anything from raspberry canes to snap peas. The key, of course, being to grow veggies that you're not already receiving through your CSA. And what better way to bond (and learn) with your kids than to garden with them?
These are all steps any person can take in their community. The results will vary, of course. Growing a vegetable garden is not terribly easy when living in a condominium. But finding community gardening plots can be. So can researching local farms to find food that doesn't travel thousands of miles after being sprayed with carcinogens. 

At the very least, we want to encourage people to think of the impact of their food choices. What are we endorsing when we make a choice? 

Everyone has to hit the grocery store at some point. One of the best bits of advice I ever received about grocery shopping for health is only shopping around the outside of the store (as much as possible). The more you navigate the aisles, the more processed your food is likely to be. The more processed the food, the lousier it is for you -- and the more removed it is from local and ethical considerations. 


Thomas at My Porch said...

Just last week I signed up for a veg share and a fruit share for the coming season. I can't wait for the first box on May 11th. We also hope to have veggies in the garden but need to see how the sunlight is going to work in the yard.

Amanda said...

Sounds like you are on a great track to eating locally. I hope you enjoy everything that comes your way in the coming weeks!

Harry Tournemille said...

@ Thomas -- we're keeping an eye on back yard sunlight too. My wife was reading that the best way to keep tabs on a garden is to have it in sight from the kitchen window. Not always possible, mind you.

@ Amanda -- Thanks. We're looking forward to it all.