Sustainability: From Farm to Plate
Have you ever stopped to think about how all the food on the grocery store shelves actually got there?
Courtney Cornwall, Outrun Gravity
Whether its packaged, fresh, or frozen food, it had to have originated somewhere.
Thanks to agriculture, we are able to nourish our bodies with a variety of foods and have such a large selection to choose from when we walk into the grocery store today.
Agriculture is the practice of cultivating land, producing crops, and raising livestock. It’s the world’s leading source of food items.
In many parts of the world, agriculture is the primary source of livelihood. It involves a lot of hard work and contributes to the nation’s food, safety and security, and overall health. When it comes to agriculture and the food we eat, the concept of sustainable practices is an important consideration.
In agriculture, sustainability means using certain farming techniques and practices to produce plant and animal products in ways that conserve natural resources and minimally impact the environment. Sustainable agriculture enables us to produce healthy foods without compromising future generations’ ability to do the same.
A sustainable diet is one that consists of foods that are healthful and beneficial to both our bodies and to our environment. Adopting a more sustainable diet can have a variety of health benefits while also making sure the planet has enough resources to feed future generations of humans!
A global shift towards a diet made up of more plant-based foods (see article: The Flexitarian Diet) would help feed the world’s growing population both a nutritious and sustainable diet. This plant-based eating style includes more legumes (beans, peas, lentils, peanuts), vegetables, whole grains, fruits and nuts, and less animal-based products, especially red meat and processed meats.
Support Sustainable Farming with Sustainable Eating:
Unless you’re a farmer, the best way to support sustainable farming is to eat a sustainable diet. Here are some tips to get you started:
Shop locally. Shopping locally is a great way to support your community. Find local farmers markets to purchase fresh produce and support local farms and farmers. It keeps your dollars in your community and helps foster a healthy environment of diversity. When you purchase foods grown locally, it reduces the amount of fuel needed to ship foods across country to your grocery stores.
Grow something. It could be fresh herbs in a pot, tomatoes on a patio or a small garden in your yard. Growing your own food gives you a greater appreciation for what it takes to create food. This process can help you gain an understanding of the factors involved in making plants thrive and the attention needed to successfully grow food. Insights gained can influence how you buy, use and dispose of food.
Initiate conversations about food. Talk with the farmers at your market, management at your grocery store and restaurants, or other people that are conscientious of how foods get on their plates. You can discover new tips, learn about new resources, and find more local, sustainable-minded food producers and providers.
Eat seasonally. Blueberries don’t grow in Montana during January, yet you can still buy them “fresh” at this time. This means they’re likely coming from far, far away. When possible, focus on foods that are available in season where you live and you’ll be supporting sustainability.
Use the tap. Liquids can be heavy items to ship around the country and lots of fossil fuel is needed to transport them. Instead of purchasing bottled beverages, use a refillable bottle and fill it with water from the tap or filter.
Rethink your grocery list. Opt for foods in bulk, less processed foods and more plant-based meals. These choices typically require less packaging, waste, energy and water to produce them.
Vote with your wallet and your fork. There’s no better way to affect the direction of our food system and what grocers and food companies produce and sell than to influence their bottom line. Ask your food providers to support local farmers, local producers, and sustainable agriculture. Show support through your buying decisions and through your actions! Here at Outrun Gravity, we believe in mindful experiences and meaningful change. We believe in impacting lives and giving and contributing to the growth of communities as opposed to always just taking.
This is why we are so excited to provide the opportunity to contribute to a sustainable agriculture project at our upcoming Move, Rejuvenate, & Reset Retreat in Jamaica from December 1-6th, 2021!
In this Farm to Table Experience, we are teaming up with Farm up Jamaica – a nonprofit organization that trains and transforms the youth through agribusiness to create opportunities and better the community. We’ll have the opportunity to plant pineapples and learn about the agricultural industry in Jamaica. We will work alongside Jamaican farmers to discover ways to create sustainable growth to improve Jamaican communities. Experience is the most natural way to get a workout on the land, and farming is the best way to get functional training! It will be an unforgettable educational and rewarding experience.