How To: Improve Food Sustainability


We already know that our homes and cars all have a huge impact on the environment, but what about the food we eat? From how our vegetables and fruit are grown to where our meat and poultry are raised, it all has the potential to harm our planet. Fruits and vegetables often contain large amounts of pesticides and other chemicals. Meanwhile, animals in factory farms are injected with growth hormones and raised in environmentally hazardous conditions. (Gross!) Help stop this by eating green. Here are five ways to improve food sustainability:


1. Buy seasonal and local fruits and vegetables

Seasonal and local fruits and vegetables are not only fresher, they also consume fewer resources. These fruits and vegetables don't have to be packaged and shipped across large distances in order for you to buy them.

2. Buy organic

Organic farming encourages soil and water conservation and reduces pollution. Produce and meat that are organically grown or raised don’t use pesticides, hormones or other chemicals to control weeds or prevent disease.  Also, the process of growing and transporting these foods also creates less air, soil and water pollution.

3. Grow your own fruits and vegetables

One way to ensure that your food doesn't have pesticides and other chemicals – growing them on your own! You can start with something small; think a tomato plant or two, some cucumbers, maybe watermelon. The list is endless.

4. Reduce the amount of meat you eat

The process of raising cattle and poultry not only drains a lot of natural resources but it also produces vast quantities of waste. You don't need to become a vegetarian to help the environment, even designating one day of the week as a “vegetarian day” can help reduce the impact of factory farms.

5. Start cooking at home

The more food you prepare at home, the less food you'll buy from McDonald's or Burger King. Fast food restaurants are one of the main reasons why the factory farm industry is booming. Most of the demand for the kind of meat that factory farms produce comes from fast food places.

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- Tanaz Ahmed is a University of Michigan student who loves all things related to books, movies and music. Her favorite cause is education.