21 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day: Eat Local

Each day of the month of April leading up to Earth Day (April 22), I will be offering a suggestion for how we can really honor the Earth this year. This list will go beyond the usual suggestions to change your light bulbs and take shorter showers. Instead, the focus is on collective action working toward radical social change.

Many people may not realize that a major source of carbon emissions and pollution is the food industry—especially the transportation of food. Locavores are people who try to get all of their food within 100 miles of where they live.

The meat industry is particularly eco-illogical. Animal agriculture not only produces greenhouse gases, but also accounts for a major portion of land use (including both grazing land and growing feed crops), and thus is responsible for record levels of deforestation and species loss. Meat production is extremely inefficient—the production of a pound of meat requires many times its weight in grain. Runoff from factory farms is also a major source of pollution of water ways.  According to some estimates, the meat industry is more environmentally destructive than any other industry!

One thing you can do to honor the Earth this Earth Day is to change your relationship with food.  You can grow your own food and buy locally at farmer’s markets or direct from the farm. Here’s a link to find a farmer’s market near you.

You can also reduce food waste in your home. The next time you replace your fridge, go smaller instead of larger. A big part of the reason we waste food is because it gets lost in the back.

You can also consider greener dietary choices, like going vegetarian or vegan. Learn more about the environmental costs of meat. If you’re an omnivore, then you can cut down on your meat consumption and buy only free-range meat.

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