from contributing editor, Stephanie Georgieff
|LED Xmas lighting uses 80% less energy !|
According to the Soil Association, a typical Christmas Feast can wrack up 49,000 miles in imported ingredients. I don’t know how they got to this number, but when you look at all the driving and flying that is involved in getting feed and bees to farms that produce meat and vegetables, all the spices, wines and other imported goodies, it certainly can add up. Another depressing statistic is how much food is thrown out during the Christmas season, with parties, special meals, going out and all that, one source said for each person celebrating the season, we create an extra trash bin of food waste than normal.
Practicing a “sustainable” kitchen, is actually one of the greatest gifts you can give your family and community this holiday season. Basically, because it is the gift that keeps giving in terms of a future life filled with resources for generations to come. So how can you have a sustainable Christmas without being really annoying? Here are a few tips: (Please note all of these suggestions can be used for Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Years, Solstice and Festivus)
1) Have a Vegetarian Feast. Locally grown and sourced produce does not create the carbon footprint of meat. Vegetable dishes are actually more interesting, and face it the side dishes are what makes the feast anyways. Check Out LocalHarvest.org for ideas on what is in season and where to get it at your local farmers market.
2) If you are going to serve meat, serve locally grown, organic and pastured meat. Neimans Ranch is an excellent source that incorporates 700 small family farms throughout the nation, producing pork, lamb, and beef. Mary’s Chicken has organic poultry options, and is in California. Fronteier Family Farms in Chino and Sage Mountain Farm in Temecula are also great options for locally grown Organic poultry, lamb and beef.
3) Serve Organic Wine and Beer. Make your own drinks from these wonderful options. Here in California we have many to choose from, Benziger and Frey are good options for wines. Eel River Brewing Company and Sierra Nevada Estate Homegrown are excellent brews from California. Organic libations do not use Genetically Modified grains or ingredients, pesticide use is decreased, and well, all the reasons you want organic are obviously involved in your holiday beer and wine selections.
4) Use reusable plates, cups, utensils and napkins. Keep paper and plastic out of the landfills. It also looks so nice! A trick I used to use when I was in graduate school was to buy plates and such from a thrift store; they were usually cheaper that purchasing paper and plastic anyways, and then I would donate them back (clean of course) when I was done. No trash and the charity thrift shop I bought from got twice the money through re-selling my stuff.
5) Save water by scraping plates clean, before washing them.
6) Compost the table scraps. I feed the chickens at a local farm school with my vegetable and fish scraps.
7) Menu Plan with Leftovers. In America, we waste 40% of our food. Food scraps from homes and restaurants goes into landfills causing green house gases. If you have leftovers, think about how you can use them in casseroles, soups, sandwiches, lunches and snacks.
8) Give gifts of homemade goodies. Make sure you put them in containers that can be re-used or recycled. Simple gifts made from nuts, honey, oil and herbs are in-expensive, delicious, and do not contribute to waste.
The Holiday Season as it is practiced here in the United States is simply not sustainable, creates a lot of stress, and costs much in terms of personal income as well as resources. A simple and delicious way to celebrate is to use any or all of the ideas above. The great thing, it REALLY tastes great!