HealthCommentary

Exploring Human Potential

Leaning Green

Posted on | March 9, 2008 | No Comments

Using local, natural, and sustainable resources

I attended an event called "Celebrating Food" hosted by Les Dames d’Escoffier DC chapter. One of the sessions focused on eating local foods. Here are my notes for your reading pleasure. Think you can’t do anything to "lean green?" Think again. Read on to find out how.

Let’s start with Susan Belsinger — a culinary herbalist and author. She has written 18 books throughout the years. She gave us two easy tips we could do today to start “leaning green”. She told us to avoid buying bottled water because it wastes petroleum, energy, and disturbs the water tables in the areas wherever the water is bottled. Just think about the miles a $3 bottle of Fiji water bottled at the source has to travel. She also suggested bringing your own bags to the grocery store. You can now buy reusable bags for $1 a piece from Whole Foods. You can also reuse the paper bags. Just leave them in your car. Finally, think about the packaging. She said look for alternatives to the convenient containers for school lunches and reuse packages you buy at the store. I already do this one. Although my husband gives me grief for “hoarding containers”. I did buy small Ziploc containers for their perfect 1-cup size. I put anything from oatmeal to applesauce in these guys. I will be trying the other tips ASAP. I already use Nalgene bottles and I will have no problem keeping reusable bags in the car.

Renee Brooks Catacalos is publisher of Edible Chesapeake, part of a series of publications dedicated to eating locally. This is a must-read for all residents of the areas that have publications. It provides stories, tips and information on how to “lean grean,” eat locally and sustainably. For less than $30, you can get four issues filled with stories, recipes and all-things “leaning locally green.” Visit their website and retrieve a calendar of events going on in the Chesapeake area.

Christy Przystawik is a chef, restaurant owner and new mom. I think I’ll add “superwoman” to that list. Food Matters is an Alexandria-based restaurant, which has a café and a 17-foot private dining table made from wood recovered from a local barn. You can reserve a seat at the table and dine with total strangers. Sounds like fun! While they aren’t 100% local, they are very close. They produce a lot of compost and use it in a Washington D.C. community garden and post the rest of the waste on Craig’s List. They change the menu monthly to keep it interesting and to reflect the changing seasons.

All in all, this was an excellent session. It inspired me to make some simple changes, like reusing grocery bags and storage containers.

Here are some other references and resources the panelists provided:

Mountain Rose Herbal – Eugene, OR 0% waste!
Trade and share – If you have a fruit or nut tree or anything else that you don’t want or can’t use, share with friends or strangers. One easy way is to post it on Craig’s List.

Make other companies “go green” – visit Co-Op America’s website to learn about initiatives that are helping consumers get their grocers to “lean green”.

Certified Humane – USDA meat recall have you in a tizzy? Learn about meat products that are certified humane.
Local seafood – the panelists say “good luck” to you. It is hard to find local seafood. You can get USA labeled frozen seafood at reasonable prices. I just purchased salmon, scallops, and shrimp all in the US.

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