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:
Avalon Bay, Catalina Island. Credit: Catalina Chamber of Commerce
Though eco-travelers may be enthused about renting greener cars or making their road trips more environmentally friendly, sometimes it feels best to leave the car behind altogether. To that end, I’ve put together this introductory list of “car-free islands” in the U.S. There’s no better time than fall to discover them, when summer crowds have flocked back to the mainland, and these idyllic isles welcome slower-paced travelers yearning for a serene getaway.
The other day, my husband Chip and I were debating what to make for dinner. He said wistfully, “What I’d really like is fish and chips, with malt vinegar to douse the chips.”
Mmm, that did sound good. But I’d firmly resisted the temptation to get a deep fryer, even as I listened with private envy to my sister-in-law’s tales of making fried risotto balls, pumpkin donuts and light-as-air vegetable tempura with the shiny new deep fryer that she got for her birthday.
I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately about the fishing industry. I love fish—it’s so good for you, and easy to prepare, and incredibly versatile. But I can’t help but feel guilty about wolfing down tuna nigiri at my favorite sushi restaurant, or seeing the huge bags of shrimp at Costco and thinking about the havoc that might have been wreaked to get them to these sterile sacks in the freezer case.