"Just Foods": A little something we wrote up the other day

10 practical things The Abundant Table recommends for “just food”

  1. Know where your food comes from – Join your local CSA, or support the farmers’ markets near you, and “shake the hand that feeds you.” Ellwood Canyon Farm in Goleta starts up their CSA May 1st! Montecito’s farmers’ market is Fridays from 8-11 on Montecito Coast Village Road (found at http://www.sbfarmersmarket.org/). Buying local strengthens your community and supporting independent farms encourages biodiversity. Check out http://www.foodroutes.org/ and http://www.localharvest.org/ or for a lighter endeavor, http://locavorelite2010.webs.com/.
  2. Buy Fair Trade – If you can’t buy something locally, look for fair trade products. Get involved at http://www.transfairusa.org/.
  3. Use animal products sparingly – meat production is responsible for 1/5th of greenhouse gases, takes up 75% of water in the western US, and accounts for more than 1/2 of the nitrogen fertilizers used in the US. Even grass-fed organic cattle take up 8-10 acres of land each. As much as possible, use meat, dairy and eggs to flavor food rather than as the center of the meal.
  4. Cook from scratch – making your own meals from scratch helps you know what’s in your food aand cuts down on waste from packaging.
  5. Cook from what you have – limiting trips to the grocery store can help you get creative with the food that you do have and reduce food waste.
  6. Know what’s native – native plants are drought-tolerant, attractive, and are made to be here! We recommend you check out Nopalito Native Plant Nursery. They are helpful and one of very few nurseries that know about and sell native plants. http://www.nopalitonursery.com/
  7. Check out local garden projects – One such project is the community garden at St. Michael’s University Church and Campus Ministry at UCSB. Their vision for is to “bring together community members to share in the honest labor and earthy satisfaction of planting, growing and harvesting fresh organic food!”
  8. Rethink Plastic ­– Help stop plastic pollution and its toxic impacts on humans, the environment, and wildlife worldwide. Check out http://plasticpollutioncoalition.org/ and “just say NO to single-use and disposable plastics.”
  9. Consider horticultural therapy – The therapeutic benefits of peaceful garden environments have been understood since ancient times. In Santa Barbara, they have the certified organic Healing Grounds Nursery (http://www.healinggroundsnursery.com/ ), which works to serve clients through the Santa Barbara County Mental Health Services.
  10. Support eateries that buy locally — It’s as simple as asking your favorite restaurant, “where does your food come from?”

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