Sustainable Thanksgiving: Things To Look Out For
As if the coronavirus isn’t already changing Thanksgiving enough, the looming threat of climate change is causing many Americans to alter food on their table to be more environmentally friendly. If you’re looking for a way to be eco-conscience this Thanksgiving here are a few options to help you get there:
Ditch the Turkey
Approximately 45 million turkeys adorn dinner tables every Thanksgiving. It’s an impressive number, but it doesn’t bode well for turkeys when they’re dead or alive. The only way to supply a demand of that size is to have factory farms for turkeys. Factory farming is not a sustainable or environmentally friendly way to raise livestock, largely because of the insane amount of manure produced. Replace the bird with an abundance of hearty sides, like Sunny Anderson’s cheesy mushroom and broccoli casserole.
If you can’t go without a turkey on Thanksgiving, try finding one from a small farm nearby. Some of the biggest problems with the food industry are solved when you buy local. Small farms tend to have more variety and use less chemicals, both of which are better for Mother Nature. And, buying local means your food isn’t traveling as far. The closer to your home food was grown the less fossil fuels it took to get it to you, reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, it means your produce will be that much fresher.
Crop it Out
No matter how close to home they’re grown, some crops are more sustainable than others. Rainforests in South America are being cut down in favor of tropical crops like coffee, chocolate, and palm oil. Palm oil is found mostly in processed snacks, so check the label before you buy that bag of chips and swap for something palm oil free. For coffee, chocolate, and other crops look for a seal or label that says the ingredients were sourced ethically. And when you’re in the milk isle, ditch the dairy, soy, and almond in favor of oat or hemp milk.
Mix it Up
Did you know we can make saki from tofu or beer from tomatoes? A new eco-friendly trend to make alcohol from food scraps is emerging and it’s worth a try. Food waste is an often overlooked source of greenhouse gas emissions, but it’s one of our easiest eco-issues to solve. Brewers and distillers, like those at Misadventure Vodka, have figured out how to take wasted food and give it a second life. The first carbon negative vodka in the world, Misadventure Vodka uses old baked goods to create a drink that can be served in a mixer and as a conversation piece.
Avoid the need for recycled food waste altogether by composting food scraps and eating your leftovers. All fruits and veggies can be composted, which keeps them from landfills and allows Mother Nature to reabsorb their nutrients. Keep a paper bag in your fridge or freezer to toss onion peels and celery tops into as you cook. Once it’s full use the scraps in your own garden, bring it to a compost facility, or pass it off to a friend or local composter. Then, after the big meal, don’t throw any leftovers away. Most classic Thanksgiving foods don’t lose their taste or texture after being reheated, which makes them great for days to come.
Being environmentally friendly is a lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Whether you take one of these tips or all five, you’re contributing to a new global lifestyle that’s healing our bodies and the earth we live on.