5 easy steps to eating more sustainably at home
Eating in a sustainable way may sound daunting to start with, but you don’t need to turn into a hermit and live on a farm to do it.
At Just Hospitality, we think a lot about the food we serve, where it comes from and whether or not it is sustainable. Many a times, we ditch the cheap and convenient options, in favour of an elaborate but certainly more sustainable source / supplier.
For us as individuals, sustainable food is important, as it has a long term effect on your health, lifestyle and overall wellbeing. Eating sustainably is how we were meant to eat - without any industrial interventions. This may at first seem too difficult and unachievable for our busy lives - we get it. But if we just break it down and take it one step at a time, it’s not so scary. So to help, we have put together 5 simple and achievable tips to help you start eating more sustainably.
Buy from local markets
Support the local / farmers markets - opt for the slightly muddy, poky potatoes and carrots over the neatly packed ones. Local markets most likely cut out the middlemen and bring you fresh produce straight from the growers, who then get a fair price for what they sell to you. This often benefits small farmers, as they are able to reach their customers without producing large volumes which makes organic farming easier. Most farmers markets bring you produce from farms near you, meaning your food has not incurred lots of air miles. Local / farmers markets also create a sense of community adding to the cultural landscape of a neighbourhood. To find out about farmers markets near you in London, check out London Farmers Markets.
Buy seasonal fruit and veg
Chefs tend to make a big deal of seasonal food and ingredients, and there’s a good reason why you should too. Vegetables and fruits are at their best at certain times of the year when grown naturally. Out of season produce can certainly come to us from the other hemisphere (where it is in season). But that would mean it has travelled thousands of miles to get to you. These fruit and veg can also be grown locally other times of the year in controlled environments (greenhouses) but this consumes a lot of energy and resources and are not at all sustainable. So stay away from a December strawberry - as tempted as you may be. To help you keep track - here’s a snapshot of what’s in season, when.
We found this guide from New Covent Garden Market very helpful.
Cook more often
This may seem like the simplest piece of advice, but cooking the most basic of foods at home, with local ingredients helps you achieve sustainability. It helps you eat healthier, minus any preservatives and additives and reduces the wastage arising from packaging of supermarket alternatives. Home cooking will also mean you are able to control the ingredients that go into your meal and decide how much or how little of what you’d like in your food - helpful if you have allergies or intolerances. We do offer tips on healthy eating, cooking and recipes via our blog. Last week, we spoke about classic cookbooks recommended by our chefs.
Again this may sound like a complicated idea, but just a few small pots on the kitchen windowsill with simple herbs like rosemary, thyme and basil can make a difference. These plants can be purchased from vendors at local markets, who can also offer tips on caring for them. Most of the time, we just need a pinch of these herbs and end up buying (and eventually wasting) a whole packet. With your herb pots, you can just pick fresh herbs as needed. You can also find use for discarded organic peels as they can go back into these pots as manure for your plants.
Be wary of 'offers'
We’re not here to demonise supermarkets. There are many out there that are trying to change their ways. But the truth is that they are businesses and need to turn a profit. The cheap deals on meat and veg we often get offered at supermarkets are not always good value. They do sometimes come at the cost of the farmer getting a raw deal which may eventually mean they start cutting corners on sustainable measures or start using industrial processes for increasing production. It is important to be mindful of such promotions and the best way to counter such a situation is to buy direct from farmers markets or butchers you trust. It may cost a few pennies more, but at least you know where it’s going.
So there are some simple steps. Tell us if you found them useful or if you would like to share any others you have been following yourself. Tweet to us via @JustHospitality or comment here.