This is part of a Sustainable Kitchen presentation I did for Planet Home last year. I found it while cleaning things out but it’s still as timely and accurate as ever. Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. Stop looking for commercial solutions to ease your guilt. Just buck up and do it.
1. Stop Wasting Food (or water, or energy for that matter)
Did you know that 40% of all food goes to waste? And rather than getting a rain barrel or solar panels how about you just cut back on your consumption? Not only is decreasing consumption free – it will save you money. Reducing spending is actually better than making money because it saves you from paying tax on that money!! Sustainable and fiscally responsible. Look at you go!
2. Eat more nutrient dense food
You’ll consume less of it, and reduce your garbage at the same time. Did you know that nutritionally-bereft food is the most packaged food there is? It just means more poop and more garbage – you don’t need either one!
3. Garden year round, and eat seasonally
Stop trying to preserve everything in sight – eat winter squash and kale in winter and strawberries and zucchini in summer. You’ll appreciate it all that much more when you only eat it in season.
4. If you don’t garden, consider getting a local, organic CSA
This helps reduce monocrop faring and GM foods, and supports food security in your local economy. If everyone did this it would change the shape of modern agriculture.
5. Learn to ferment, culture dairy and cure meats
This is a great, no electricity-required way to preserve perishable foods until spring. You won’t need to buy those emergency supply kits with their freeze dried meals – you’ll be ready to feed your whole block!
6. Trade surplus produce with friends and neighbors, or donate it to food banks
Don’t let large bounties go to waste and create pest and disease problems!
7. Compost kitchen and garden scraps and turn your past-prime foods into garden gold. This reduces your yard waste and strengthens the web of life in your yard (the good web – the one that keeps down pests and plagues and things.)
8. Get chickens, rabbits or worms (or all three!)
Before becoming garden gold, those food scraps could become eggs, or meat. The synergy between rabbits, chickens and worms is amazing. The rabbits will spill alfalfa pellets (or poop the partially digested alfalfa), the chickens will eat any form of alfalfa on the ground, reducing the amount of chicken feed you need to buy, rabbit and chicken feces will feed composting worms and the worms and any fly larvae will feed the chickens. It’s so cyclical it will blow your mind. And you will get meat and eggs for half the amount feed.
9. Buy a grain grinder and learn to make your own baked goods. You and your local grain farmers will be healthier for it. And when I say baked goods, I mean that middle 1/3 of the grocery store. Crackers, cereal, breads, buns, cookies. It represents more of your grocery bill than you realize, more of your middle-aged spread than you care to notice, the majority of your garbage, and most of the food preservatives and flavor “enhancers” the industry so loves to pawn off on your kids.
10. Buy local, pastured meats and learn to use the whole animal. Nothing goes to waste. No feed lots to support. No recalls to watch. Find caring farmers who raise happy and healthy animals (or raise your own backyard meats.)