When people want to be environmentally friendly, they might immediately think about throwing that aluminum soda can in the recycling bin or reusing paper.
But they often don’t think of more basic, or what are called “upstream,” solutions that actually reduce consumption and waste in the first place. People often don’t consider what we eat to have major environmental impact — but it does. Below is a list of ways to be more environmentally conscientious in food choices.
• Support local farmers. Buying locally will save fuel and keep money in the community. To find a farmers’ market, visit Local Harvest’s site at www.localharvest.org/.
Local farmers’ markets include:
Goshen Market, North Main Street, Edwardsville, 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, May to October; (618) 307-6045; firstname.lastname@example.org Oak Grove Farm and Market, 7352 Illinois 140, Edwardsville, (right before Hamel) 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays; pasture-raised pork, chicken, beef and eggs; produce and sprouted grains; (618) 606-7212; Tina Mick
• Buy organic foods. Organic soils capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils from conventional farms.
All the major grocers in the area now carry organic, and the selection and variety continue to increase.
One local source of organic foods is Green Earth Grocery, 441 S. Buchanan (by Market Basket); (618) 656-3375; www.communityhelpingscoop.com (online co-op)
• Cut down on meat consumption. One pound of meat causes the emissions equivalent of roughly 16.5 pounds of carbon dioxide and 2,464 gallons of water because of the water needed to produce hay for food.
• Buy fresh foods instead of frozen or canned. Frozen and canned food use much more energy to produce and deliver (unless, of course, the “fresh” has been shipped in such as bananas from South America).
• Avoid heavily packaged products and cut down on garbage. Give back that extra napkin or sugar packet. Carry the gallon of milk by the handle instead of using a bag.
• Know what’s in season and don’t buy things that are out of season; they will have been shipped or flown in.
• Investigate food co-ops and community-supported gardens such as Biver Farm, Edwardsville, (618) 656-9082 and (269) 604-9527; and La Vista, Godfrey, (618) 467-2104, www.lavistacsa.org.
This article was submitted by Cathy Daus-Reinhard, a member of Glen Carbon’s Cool Cities Committee.