The holiday season is upon us! Now there’s an extra five-day weekend putting some much needed space between you and your next exam. Even better? The weekend is filled with a regular smorgasbord of savory snacks and delectable dishes. Suffice to say that Thanksgiving is a holiday a lot of college students look forward to.
Freshmen and seniors alike are returning home to see friends and family, and to maybe impart a little of the knowledge they’re picking up back in Gainesville. So how about coming home this year with some knowledge that will actually make a difference? Here are five tips to help you make your family’s feast a little more sustainable.
- Go local. By now you’ve realized that I’m all about the local food. It has so many benefits, the least of which is the opportunity to connect with your agricultural community. Since you’ve been informed about how great farmers’ markets are and visited the Gainesville one (right?) why not make a fun family event out of it and check out your local farmers’ market? Check online listings for the one nearest you.
- Go organic. Again, I believe I’ve made my point about how organic is a good choice for you and your family. Check out my earlier post about which produce is better organic for the most budget friendly choices.
- Go meatless. I know, I know, what blasphemy on the most hallowed of meat-eating days! But seriously, meat production makes a big impact on our planet (greater than transportation) and by eating a little less, you can lighten your impact. But coincidentally, turkeys are one of the most sustainable livestock to farm and produce. Try sticking with just the turkey, and keep the rest of your sides carb and veggie focused.
- Watch your waste. Americans waste a tremendous amount of food (40% of what we make annually, to be exact). Save your leftovers by giving them to friends and relatives or taking them back to school with you. Give away extra canned and pre-packaged food to nearby shelters, or maybe prepared food if they allow it. And if at all possible, compost what’s left. A more realistic method to reduce waste, however, is to use cloth napkins and actually use plates and silverware at your event. Washing dishes later is worth it compared to having needless plastic sit in a landfill for a few thousand years.
- Recycle. All those bottles, cans and boxes that went into preparing and serving your food have to go somewhere. Why not the recycling bin? Making an effort to save the recyclables is a great step to reducing waste as well, and saves overall time and energy to create new products further down the line.
This info-graphic is a great resource for checking to see what you can do to follow these tips, and more. Have a happy, fun and sustainable holiday!