Updated: Nov 2, 2019
What is sustainable food - Definition
Sustainable food is way more than just organic food. Sustainable food is by definition a way to feed ourselves while using as little resources as possible.
To grow, transport, and distribute food, the following resources are needed:
To grow: sun, water, soil, land (space, footprint), pesticides, fertilizer, tractors, human labour, greenhouses, heat
To transport: fuel, trucks, boats, planes, trains
To distribute: packaging
Here are the 3 most important things you can do to reduce your resources consumption while eating.
1-Sustainable diet: meat, dairy, and plant based diet
To raise animals, you need a lot of space and water to raise them.
But their own food, mainly vegetables and cereals, also need water and space to grow. While these vegetables and cereals could directly feed you without going through animals first.
With a plant based diet (no meat, no dairy, no eggs), you significantly reduce your environmental footprint!
No need to stop eating all animal products from now on. But if you start by reducing your meat consumption from eating meat daily to eating meat only once per week, than you will already have done a lot to reduce your environmental footprint!
To learn more about the environmental impact of meat and diary,
2-Local, Seasonal, Organic, or Unpackaged food
Whats is better:
Organic Avocados from Peru?
Local salad grown with pesticide?
Local and organic carrots wrapped in a lot of plastic?
Organic and local tomatoes in winter, grown in a heated greenhouse?
The best of course, is to combine all of these four criteria together:
Local, Organic, Seasonal, and Unpackaged!
Buying "the right" products in a supermarket is a real nightmare!!
You better be ready to spend hours comparing all of the products in there!
But you are really lucky, because there are other solutions!
buying at a local farmer market in your town. There, the fruits and vegetables should be seasonal and local. Then you only have to scoop the organic stalls and bring your own bags to not be given plastic bags everywhere.
subscribe to a local Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA). This is an association where consumers and local organic producers organise themselves together. You will get a weekly basket with a mix of local, organic, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Additional advantage: you get to know new vegetables as well as delicious recipes.
3-Gardening - Grow your own food
What is more local, seasonal, organic and unpackaged than the food that you produced yourself in your own garden or on your balcony?
Sure, you probably won’t become self-sufficient, at least not from tomorrow on. But you can still learn where your food comes from by experimenting by yourself.
Save pits and seeds from the organic and local fruits and vegetables you are eating and plant them to see what happens. If you are lucky, you might be able to eat something from your own production and collect seeds again from it. You could start with mustard for example (it is a sort of salad, so you can eat the leaves).
To learn how to grow vegetables and fruits with almost no material at all, look at this great