By Amy Mazurek
Sustainability Studies Student
As we approach Earth Day, we’ve decided to share a series of reflections on how one person is trying to move towards a more responsible, and sustainable, lifestyle.
Moving to an organic, sustainable, and greener lifestyle sounds great, but can be overwhelming. The earth-loving life is enticing, but the idea of giving up my hair products, my old fashioned Sunday newspaper, or even my chemical filled junk food is overwhelming, to say the very least. Hopefully, by taking baby steps, the process will be more enjoyable and less scary than anticipated.
Shopping for food can be difficult. When we lived out west I bought our groceries at a great store that was mostly organic, locally grown, and environmentally conscious. Sprouts was located nearby and had a policy similar to Wegman’s.
“Wegmans Food Markets, a supermarket chain in the United States, has a “Home Grown” program that gives preference to produce from local farmers when fresh food is in season. Under this program, Wegmans gives bonuses to produce managers who exceed a certain quota of produce from local growers (roughly 30 percent) because the chain knows that people will often pay more for local produce, and because local produce draws customers in to the store.” (Halweil)
Since we don’t have anything similar here I’ve struggled to buy healthy food and really fell back on bad food habits. With some research and a little planning, I’m finding a number of great options. Between our local food finds at the Farmer’s Market, some organic fruits and veggie from the bigger grocery stores, and a few items from Whole Foods, I’m starting to change my ways. One of the stumbling blocks for my family and many others is the time to shop often enough to have fresh food without it going bad. By finding an extra few minutes here and there, and having a grocery list ready so my husband can stop on his way home from work, we’re making it work. While searching for help I found an app called cozi that keeps our grocery list on our phones and always on hand. We’re never making a second trip to the store for items we forgot. Good for the environment and good for our valuable time!
This was the first year we planted a garden. It was amazing how much food we provided for our own family and many of our neighbors. We used a small rabbit fence, rainwater we captured in buckets on our deck, and avoided using chemicals. We were able to produce healthy, organic fruits and veggies that we felt good about eating. We were able to teach our son and other kids in the neighborhood about how great it felt to grow our own food, and how much better it tasted when we did. And by growing our own food, we not only saved on our grocery bill, but considering it takes 10 fossil fuel calories for each food calorie in the American diet, we saved the transportation and environmental costs of the food we didn’t buy.
Read more: Halweil, Brian. Home Grown: The Case for Local Food in a Global Market. Worldwatch Paper, 2002.