When we ask ourselves, “What can I do to lead a more sustainable lifestyle?” the answer can be somewhat overwhelming and complex, as it requires us to evaluate the sustainability of every facet of our life.  This is no easy task when the modern day lifestyle promotes needs that increasingly go beyond the limits of our resources.

In my own push to become a more ethical eater, sensitive to the impact of my eating habits from farm to table and even beyond to the landfill, I’ve found that in order to tackle such a tall order it is best to take small steps.  For the coming year I’ve decided to write out ten resolutions that I plan to enact throughout the coming year, rather than all at once.  Many of these goals have come out of the research I’ve done for EthicalFoods.com, which has given me a bit of insight into the complexities of our food system and my role in it.

  1. Buy local, seasonal, and organic/humane foods whenever possible.
  2. Reduce waste by bringing reusable to-go packaging and utensils such as coffee mugs, lunchbox kits, napkins and straws.
  3. Start a compost and/or vermiculture bin.
  4. Take at least one farm tour of a product I really enjoy or eat often, such as the tours I took to Cowgirl Creamery, Straus Family Farm, and Coastal Hill Farm last year.  This can be a fun activity, so I’ll bring family and friends as well.
  5. Take a class on foraging for wild foods in my area.  If I get a good harvest then I can host a small get together featuring a dish that incorporates some of the ingredients I found.  (I got this idea from a friend who hosts a dumpling making party with spring onions or mushrooms that he harvests in the mountains of Switzerland).
  6. Reduce waste when grocery shopping by bringing reusable grocery and produce bags to the store or farmers’ market.
  7. Start growing a few of the foods that I cook with most often and that grow well in my area.  I’ve found that when starting a produce garden, it is best to start small, maybe even just one crop or an herb box, and then add a few more plants each season.
  8. Learn how to make my own solar oven or purchase one.
  9. Learn how to preserve one food that I will use during the winter when that food is no longer abundant (e.g. tomatoes to make tomato sauce or pre-make an apple pie filling).
  10. Find and patronize at least one local restaurant that has made commitments to be more sustainable (e.g. it serves foods that are local, seasonal, organic, or even foraged, and/or has taken measures to reduce its waste impact and energy consumption.  Such restaurants can easily be found via the Green Restaurant Association in the US or the Sustainable Restaurant Association in the UK.

Share your New Year’s Sustainability Resolutions with Eden Canon on EthicalFoods.com’s Facebook page.

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