At Rust and Fray, we believe that building a sustainable future needs to happen on all fronts. We’ve talked previously about how the textile industry creates unsustainable farming practices, but of course fashion isn’t the only industry doing that. Factory produce farming is another leading cause of environmental destruction, and while the issues this industry causes can’t be solved by the collective impact of consumers alone, collectively choosing sustainable food options does create a major impact and is one method of fighting for change. So what are some sustainable food options?
Farmers markets, of course
The first option for filling bellies sustainably is farmers markets. Locally grown foods, often grown organically, and always in season, there is a good reason Farmers Markets are suggested so much by so many different people. If you have access to a local farmer’s market, simply make the trip your Saturday morning routine and enjoy the wide variety of delicious food options.
Speaking about variety, while at the farmers market, talk to the farmers and see if there’s any they offer that’s a bit harder to sell. So we all know how good crop rotation is for the soil, but sometimes crop rotation means that some fields are growing less than profitable or unpopular crops. Buying these crops or just simply buying a variety helps make crop rotation more profitable.
Food delivery services
If you want that delicious farmers market feast but don’t have the time for the market, remember that literally everything can be done online these days. Many farmer communities, especially ones closer to larger population centers, are now offering online ordering and grocery deliveries. Basically you get all the benefits of the farmers market but with a food shopping program that’s even more convenient than going to a grocery store. The main downside for it is usually “less choice” in the produce, as they can only offer what’s in very high yield, but that’s not even a bad thing. It gets rid of “choice fatigue,” it eliminates anything out of season, and it can even become this fun way to vary your diet.
Choose Ugly Produce
If that idea interests you but you’re not sure you can afford it or you just want to save some money, see if they have an ugly produce section. In the US, billions of pounds of produce are thrown out, and while there are many causes for that and many solutions that need to happen, one cause of all this food waste is that some produce is simply too ugly for most supermarkets to buy. Ugly, imperfect, and oddly shaped produce often has absolutely nothing wrong with it, and so there’s no real reason to not eat it. Certain delivery programs and supermarkets are now offering ugly fruits and veggies so that you can save a bit of money while going sustainable.
Perfect the pickle
Of course one of the main downsides with buying fresh, in season produce is that many people have to deal with winters. That being said, Jack Frost doesn’t have to spell the end of locally grown produce for you if you just buy extra and pickle it. Pickled cucumbers aren’t the only thing around; almost anything you get at the farmers market can work. Pickling food is pretty easy as it’s literally just floating the food in a flavored vinegar water mix, and can be done with the types of jars that many zero-wasters love. Pickled foods are a healthy and tasty way to spice up any diet with some organic, locally grown food year round.
Grow your own
Finally, remember that the most locally grown food is the food you grow yourself. Of course, not every has the time or the space to do it, but if you do the results are absolutely delicious and mother earth will thank you. As we mentioned before, while it’s expensive for the moment, vertical indoor farming is slowly becoming a thing, so if you have the capital but not the land you can always try that out. Otherwise, city dwellers can check around for local community gardening initiatives. However you are able to do it though, gardening is a very fun, rewarding, and tasty hobby that’s good for you and for the environment. Just remember to keep your zucchini bread and pickled zucchini recipes on standby to prepare for the haul you’ll be getting, so that you don’t become the neighborhood zucchini lady.