Friday, July 22, 2016

Seasonally Sustainable Foods

Not many of us know what we are purchasing at our local grocery stores. Although we buy fruits and vegetables that seem to be a healthy choice, is that really what we end up with?

When purchasing foods from the grocery store what your actually getting is skewed from what they are probably advertising or what you believe in in these fruits and vegetables. The food system that grocery stores use today works wonders for us who like to have all kinds of fresh foods year round. The downside to this system is that these foods are stripped from natural and delicious flavors. Aside from loss of flavor these foods are also missing important nutrients.

Fixing this issue is quite simple because there are multiple solutions. The first solution is to buy foods such as fruits and vegetables from a local farm. The second solution is to grow your own. These two solutions that are easy for everyone to do and something that can change your health overall.

Information obtained from http://www.aerogardenblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/White-Paper.pdf

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Neighborhood/Community Gardens

Neighborhood Gardens for Sustainability



Neighborhood or community gardens are great as they bring friends and families working together on a sustainable food source for their community. These gardens can be used as a shared garden space for everyone in the community that wishes to participate; or, may have individual garden plots that are owned and maintained by individuals within the community.

How they are sustainable:
  • Reduces energy consumption
  • Reduces transportation and storage costs
  • Saves water and fossil fuels
  • Plants and trees provide shade and oxygen, as well as consume carbon dioxide
Each of these factors are extremely important in reducing pollution and minimizing the carbon footprint left by each individual.

Neighborhood Garden Benefits:
According to the American Community Garden Association (ACGA), neighborhood gardens have many benefits such as:
  • Enhanced social interactions
  • Improved quality of life
  • Good exercise
  • Reduces stress and improves mental health
  • Healthier eating habits
  • Grow your own organic and nutritional produce
  • Neighborhood beautification
  • Reduced crime
  • Lower family food budgets

Interested in starting a local community garden? Click here and learn the basic steps in getting started!

For more information, or to find a community garden near you, visit the American Community Garden Association's website.

Supporting your local food system








Supporting a local food system has many different benefits. It helps the local economy and it helps the small local farming communities. Here are a couple of suggestions for helping your local community out.

Try choosing a restaurant that supports locally grown foods. Many people believe that the only way they can eat locally means they have to cook their own food, but this isn't true! There are some restaurants that get all of their ingredients locally. Another way to support the local food system is to look for local brands in stores. The Eat Well Guide (http://www.eatwellguide.org/?) is a good way to look for local grown produce in stores. On the other hand, you could go directly to a farmers market to buy food there.

Lastly, an important point to remember is that buying local food builds up the community. When you or someone else buys produce from a local farmer it establishes a time honored connection between the consumer and producer. The local farmers put a lot of time and effort into their produce and it builds a strong relationship in the community when people know that others care about what they do.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Not a Summer Dish

Now that we are at about midpoint of the summer season here in the U.S., I thought it might be helpful to point out which foods you should be avoiding to stay within a seasonally sustainable food plan.

Asparagus
A spring crop that when seen at other times of the year will either be low in flavor, sourced from Mexico and Peru, or both.

Photo courtesy of Healthy Rise

Citrus
Citrus typically requires cold weather to mature and ripen, so summer citrus is most likely coming from places like Brazil, which produces 80% of the world’s supply.

Photo courtesy of AgriLife Today

Crab
Winter is the prime season for crab, with the official end occurring right about now. But not to worry, as halibut and abalone seasons are right around the corner, beginning in August.

Photo courtesy of Ping Ming Health

Kale
A winter season crop, and a great substitute for cabbage and spinach.

Photo courtesy of Phileena

Pomegranate
Another winter crop, with off-season imports coming from Chile.

Photo courtesy of Healthline

Sweet Potatoes
Harvested in the fall through spring, and anything you see in summer is sourced from places like China.

Photo courtesy of Cooking Light

Via MSN Lifestyle and Eat the Seasons.