There are myriad ways your kitchen practices and food consumption habits can contribute to living a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle. It’s easy to get lost in all the potential options we have for prioritizing sustainability at the dinner table — plant-based, veganism, vegetarianism, sustainably-harvested seafood, the list goes on. While any of these choices have benefits for the planet and our food system, choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables may be one of simplest (and most delicious) options for eating more sustainably.
Eating seasonally goes hand in hand with eating locally grown produce and supports your local economy, and small and mid-sized local farms. As a bonus, local produce box deliveries and trips to outdoor farmer’s markets offer ways to shop safely during the COVID-19 pandemic by avoiding crowded super markets.
Your wallet will thank you for choosing seasonal produce. Foods grown and consumed during their natural season are produced in abundance, driving down costs as farmers and distributors seek to move their products.
Choosing seasonal foods can reduce your carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gas emissions involved in the production and distribution process. Producers and growers can forego artificial heating and lighting required to produce foods outside their typical season, and opting for locally-grown seasonal foods also lowers your food miles — the distance your food needs to travel to reach you. Though it can be a challenge to pinpoint exactly how much one food may lower greenhouse gases over another, the closer to home you buy your food the less preservatives required to keep it fresh and the less energy expended to move it across the world.
Eating foods at the peak of season ensures the richest flavor and highest nutritional value. The depth and complexity of flavor offered by in-season foods is the way they were meant to be enjoyed — one bite of a bright, juicy summer tomato is all you need to forsake its lackluster winter companion.
Opting for in season fruits and vegetables is one small step you can take towards living a more sustainable life, and it’s just a bonus that it’s also a delicious and affordable step. To get started check out the USDA Seasonal Produce Guide to find out what’s currently in season.
-Written by our friend Cristina Hunter Wellens, MPH, Instagram: @wellenjoyd
-Image by Edgar Castrejon
- https://my.clevelandclinic.org/ccf/media/files/family-health-centers/solon/2012-spring-healthy-solon-enews.pdf https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263970775_Seasonality_and_dietary_requirements_Will_eating_seasonal_food_contribute_to_health_and_environmental_sustainability