For sustainability week, I think it’s a perfect opportunity to reflect and assess the sustainability of our own consumer behaviour.
Taking this approach allows us to see where improvements can be made and ultimately makes us take responsibility for our own actions. In terms of our food consumption, there seems to be a large focus on eating healthily but isn’t always synonymous with eating sustainably (e.g. jackfruit has super high air miles to be transported from Asia!).
So, whilst we have established that the animal agricultural industry has a negative effect on our planet, having a few veggie days “as your part” for the environment isn’t really enough as with the right knowledge and resources, we can all definitely do more. I’m not talking about anything too drastic like boycotting the entire food industry and growing your own veg, I just mean small easy alterations that can make a huge difference.
Here are my top tips for eating and cooking more sustainably.
Eat more plants- but make it local and seasonal when you can
Yes, as we’ve heard repeatedly over the last few years- eating plant-based does generally equate to a lower carbon food print than eating meat and dairy. However, try and eat seasonably as this ensures optimum ripeness and quality- rhubarb, broccoli and asparagus are currently in season! Also, try and buy locally whenever possible to support local businesses- you can find some amazing deals at Kirkgate market- especially near closing!
Cut down on your food waste
Ever thrown away food only on the basis that it’s gone past its best before or use by date? Unless it’s a high-risk food like meat or fish, I’d suggest smelling it first and giving it a little try before you chuck it because it’s usually fine! If you have any wilted veg then you can use this in a stew and bake with any overripe fruits (they’re much sweeter!). You can also contribute to lowering food waste by visiting The Real Junk Food Project warehouse which collects loads of food from supermarkets as they’re a little less than perfect- it’s pay as you feel too!
Choose meat-alternatives over meat
Gone are the days where Quorn chicken pieces were the only meat alternative on supermarket shelves- with the development of food innovation and immerging technologies, there’s an abundance of meat alternatives available which some say taste better than the real deal! I recommend Vivera shawarma meat if you ever want to try making your own vegan kebab as well as The Meatless Farm mince for meatballs. Iceland have also released they’re large range of meat alternatives and vegan pizzas which taste good too!
One person’s waste is another’s person’s treasure- Olio and Too Good To Go Apps!
Olio and Too Good to Go are genius apps aiming to reduce food waste; The Olio App connects those with surplus food to those who need or want it instead. The process is simple; simply snap a photo, add a brief description and provide pick-up details- then a neighbour in need of it can pick it up for free! Meanwhile, Too Good To Go wrap up food waste from bakeries and restaurants (i.e. food that they didn’t sell) and package it into “magic bags” and sell it for a fraction of the price! You won’t know what you’re getting until you pick it up (which adds to the excitement I guess) but you can filter by vegetarian restaurants.
If you’re passionate about reducing food waste, then check out Leeds University Food4Change society where you can get involved in The Real Junk Food Project as well as other sustainable initiatives!
Image: That Sugar Movement