New Year’s resolutions are sometimes a hit or miss. The year 2012 saw me not purchasing anything new. Reflecting back I did well to not purchase anything for myself, but I didn’t hesitate to put a new Breville juicer on my birthday wish list. With 2013 commenced the declaration of having one raw-food-day a week. However, with my recent change in countries and climate, this one eventually petered out with my love for warming foods.
What I have learned from these past few years is to set smart sustainable goals. Don’t aim too high, be realistic, and have fun doing it! I had a great time sourcing everything from second-hand stores, just as I did experimenting with raw cuisine. So now, 2014 is going to be the year of getting my hands dirty in the garden. If that’s not for you, here are a few other ideas to get you started for a greener 2014.
1. Plant something you can eat. From balcony gardens to community gardens, or some simple windowsill herbs. Being active in the growing of food can help us to decrease the distance between paddock and plate and learn skills that are slowly being lost through generations.
- Here is a list of what vegetables can be grown indoors. Or for a more detailed description of indoor growing check out this awesome website here. Radishes, carrots, potatoes anyone?
- Sprouting counts! Have some quinoa, lentils or sunflower seeds lying around? Why not sprout them. Here is a quick easy guide and some details on the health benefits of sprouting.
2. Support local farmers. Join a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. By purchasing a “share” from the farmer, you can expect to receive a delicious and seasonal box of fresh produce each week. CSA is available worldwide and can also be found in America, Australia and Europe.
3. Use a reusable coffee cup for your morning cuppa joe. This could equate to 365 fewer coffee cups ending up in the landfill each year. Oh yeah, and you get to say pass to those plastic BPA ridden coffee cup lids.
4. Compost more. With more than 1.3 billion tons of edible food ending up in the landfill each year, we can do our bit and compost our waste and scraps. An apple core that has been composted might take a few months to break down. However, if that same apple core just so happens to end up in a landfill – it could take 20 years for it to degrade by only 50%.
You don’t need to have a backyard to compost. There are a lot of options including balcony composters, council compost pickups, and bicycle composts. Or for the uber brave, worm farms!
- Pedal to Petal is an urban agriculture based collective of food security activists and bicycle advocates in Victoria BC. For a small price, they will pick up your kitchen scraps on their bikes and turn them into rich, organic compost.
- To start up a balcony compost all you need is a food grade plastic bucket and some Bokashi to help mitigate the smell and speed up the breakdown. You can buy Bokashi online or at compost education centres. You can also invest in a Bokashi system but it is not necessary.
- If you live in Victoria and want to learn more about composting visit The Greater Victoria Composts Education Centre. They offer composting and gardening education often free of charge. They also have a small shop selling organic seeds and compost bins.
- For the worm farmer in you, a worm bin suitable for indoor or patio use will set you back about $40. There is no smell or mess involved.
5. Eat more legumes. Not only a low GI, high protein, micronutrient packed food, legumes are also one of the more sustainable foods we can add to our diet. Legumes have a low environmental impact compared to other protein-rich foods. They also have a role in nitrogen fixation which helps to decrease our dependence on commercial fertilizers.
- For an easy start to adding legumes to your diet give Quick, Easy and Delicious Curried Pumpkin Lentil Soup a try.
“Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great” – Nelson Mandela. Wishing you all an amazing 2014!
Rachel Dickens, The Conscious Dietitian, is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator. She graduated with her Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics in 2010 from Griffith University. She strives to provide evidence-based nutrition information with a focus on plant-based nutrition, and share some of her favourite seasonal recipes and sustainable eating tips.