Last week we talked about easy actions you can take to save money and reduce waste when hosting, or attending, a party—whether that’s a picnic, sports party/tailgate, or fall get together.
We didn’t get to food last week. Food is often the center of parties but it can also have the biggest impact in terms of sustainability. It’s easy to forget how many resources go into providing the food we eat, and the impact that has on the environment around us.
Did you know it takes more than 1,000 gallons of water to produce 1lb of beef? Have you thought about the gallons of gas needed to transport your food from farm to production plant to warehouse to grocery store to your house?—and that doesn’t include planting, fertilizing, harvesting, and storing crops, and potentially feeding to livestock.
Don’t stop reading, this isn’t a lecture. Just know that making some conscious decisions can lessen your impact, save you money, and you can still put out a great spread:
- Buy local. Find locally grown produce at Farmer’s Markets, CSAs, and at some grocery stores. By local meat direct from farmers/butcher shops, and buns from local bakeries. Your food will taste better, have a better nutritional content, and you’ll support your local economy.
- Dare I say, go meatless? Production of meat uses a lot of natural resources–farmers have to grow food that could to go humans to feed the animal that humans later eat.
- Grill with propane. It has a lower level of emissions and fewer VOCs than charcoal. Can’t possibly use gas? Go for sustainably sourced natural brands of charcoal; fewer chemicals go into your food – better for your health, your family, and for the planet.
- Buy locally brewed beer or organic beer. Many brewers reuse/refill glass bottles, take advantage.
- Skip prepackaged foods. They are almost always less healthy, cost more, and have more packaging. Make the foods you love and then only make what you will eat—use the “guest-imator” if you need help planning.
Did you make too much food? If it won’t be eaten as leftovers (be honest with yourself!) don’t toss it or store it until it grows mold, rescue it! Did you know there a multiple locations that will accept prepared food to serve those in need? Saving Grace will pick up larger quantities (wedding receptions, etc.) and get them to the right place.