One of the biggest things you can do to support and encourage responsibly raised food is to vote with your wallet. You may be patronizing CSAs and farmers’ markets for local produce, buying organic brands from your supermarket, and studying nutrition labels for evils like high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives. But if you’re eating in restaurants blissfully ignorant of where the food on your plate comes from, then you might be undermining your efforts.
Choose the food you eat in restaurants just as wisely as what you choose to eat at home, and your choices will be more likely to influence the foodservice community to change their ways and offer more environmentally friendly choices on their menus. Plus, with restaurants, being green goes beyond the food they serve — restaurants can, and should, be conservative with energy usage, use eco-responsible construction methods, and treat their staff fairly.
Do a little research on the restaurants in your area, or before you travel to other cities, to find businesses that care about the environment. These tips will help you make the best choices:
Perhaps it’s because I spent 10 years in Colorado, where the dry climate means every drop of water really counts, but I always conserved water just to conserve water. It recently occurred to me that water conservation is about saving energy too.
If there’s on thing I like to do this summer, it’s to eat copious amounts of ice cream. Maybe it’s a holdover from my youth, and remembered trips to Dairy Queen, not to mention the one or two times per summer that my dad hauled out the rock-salt ice cream maker and we cranked away for what seemed like hours to churn homemade ice cream. Years later, I still love DQ’s Peanut Buster Parfait, and my fridge is rarely without a cardboard tub of ice cream between the months of May and September.
In one of my first jobs out of college (at a magazine that shall remain nameless) I sat near one of the senior editors, who — when he wasn’t sleeping at his desk (he actually snored!) — would cut his finger nails every Friday. While I sat — trying to concentrate — in my cubicle, he was perched in his superplush office clip, clip, clipping away.
Spend any time reading environmental news, and you could get pretty depressed. But we know there has to be reason for hope out there. So we decided to ask some of the smart people who came to the San Francisco Green Festival to tell us what makes them optimistic about the future.
Living in Atlanta, I’ve had to get used to the fact that summer starts in April and the hot weather can last well into October. Being one who despises heat and humidity (not to mention mosquitoes), this has been no easy feat!