Give Thanks with the Right Food
(from The Union of Concerned Scientists)
In the hubbub of planning and preparing a Thanksgiving feast for
friends and family, it can be easy to forget the environmental impact
of our food choices. Growing, harvesting, and transporting the
ingredients for a typical Thanksgiving meal consumes a significant
amount of water and energy and contributes to air and water pollution,
habitat degradation, and global warming.
Fortunately, you can make a holiday meal that is not only delicious but
also kinder to the environment and your family's health. Here's
Look for food produced in your region. Food travels an average of 1,500
miles or more from the farm to the supermarket, consuming fossil fuels
and emitting air pollutants and heat-trapping carbon dioxide.
Regionally grown meat and produce not only travel a shorter distance to
your table and arrive fresher, but may also come from smaller farms
that often follow more environmentally friendly practices.
Choose organic. Organic standards prohibit the use of synthetic
fertilizers, toxic pesticides, and antibiotics (today's
industrialized animal production relies heavily on antibiotics to
accelerate growth and prevent diseases that stem from overcrowding).
Overuse of these substances generates air and water pollution and makes
it more difficult to treat human diseases and ward off agricultural
pests. If organic turkey is not available in your supermarket, choose
turkey that has been raised without antibiotics. Also look for organic
apples, celery, potatoes, and green beans because these holiday
favorites are among the fruits and vegetables that typically carry the
highest pesticide residues.
Support genetic diversity. Today's large-scale farms focus on only a
select few varieties of livestock and crops; for example, of the more
than 250 million turkeys sold in the United States each year, 99
percent are the Broad-Breasted White variety. And of the thousands of
potato varieties available, a small number now account for the majority
of commercial production. As our agriculture system becomes more
homogeneous, so does the risk of catastrophic losses if a disease
spreads rapidly throughout a plant or animal population upon which our
food supply depends. Choosing heirloom (or "heritage") varieties
such as American Bronze turkeys and fingerling potatoes helps support
biodiversity and ensures a reliable food supply for future generations.
than other food production, so consider a meatless main dish.
At Boulder Belt we will be feasting on locally raised, pastured, organic turkey along with salad, sweet potatoes, apple and squash pie from our farm.
Check out Local Harvest for locating local food in your area