When we choose to follow a sustainable diet, we are helping to ensure that future generations get to do the same. One of the easiest ways to practice sustainability is to buy local produce; especially since warm weather is approaching and outdoor farmer’s markets will be in abundance.
Sustainable farmers regularly grow produce in such a way that minimizes water use, promotes healthy soil management, and lowers pollution. Oftentimes people will argue that eating local, healthy food is too costly and frequenting markets on a weekly basis doesn’t fit into their busy schedule. However, there may be a solution.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy produce in a way that benefits the community and environment. A CSA membership typically consists of weekly and/or monthly deliveries of fresh produce from local farmers. This allows for a transparent connection to be made since the consumer is familiar with the source. Additionally, farmers feel an even greater obligation to provide fresh and nutritious goods that are free of hazardous pesticides.
The one-time payment price of a CSA might appear hefty, but when you break it down into a week-by-week analysis, you are likely to save money in the long run. Some farmers do not limit their CSAs to just produce, either. Certain packages offered may consist of quality dairy products, fruits, baked goods, poultry, etc.
Keep in mind that eating a sustainable diet doesn’t only apply to land. Since 70 percent of our earth is made up of water, choosing seafood that is sustainably fished guarantees a future for the ocean and freshwater wildlife.
In an article by National Geographic, it is stated that 70 percent of the world’s fisheries are exploited, overexploited, or have already collapsed. This common occurrence has caused coastal habitats, rivers and lakes to be affected by deterioration due to pollution from poor practices.
Overfishing is just one of those unethical practices of unsustainable fishing. When the population of a specific fish is dramatically decreased in such a short amount of time from unsustainable fishing, it becomes difficult for the species to replenish.
Bycatch is another huge threat to this systematic worldwide problem. According to a report by the Consortium for Wildlife Bycatch Reduction, “at least 7.3 million tons of marine life are caught incidentally.” Fish aren’t the only who suffer; tens of thousands of unsellable sea turtles, marine mammals and seabirds are also killed by incidental capture.
Tuna and shrimp are two of the most popular seafood items but their capture has severe impacts on bycatch. The renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium has a Seafood Watch guide app that gives users quick access to sustainable seafood recommendations according to region.
Industrial agriculture may be dominating our planet, but that doesn’t mean we have to succumb to the masses. Websites including Sustainable Table have provided easy and convenient ways for us to use your location to discover restaurants, stores, and CSAs in the area that source local, sustainable foods.