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Celebrating Earth Day through Sustainable Food Practices

Living in Iowa, our agriculture system is known for feeding the world. Iowa is home to some of the world’s richest soil and crops that contribute to foods eaten around the globe. So how can we continue to sustain our food supply? There are several ways to protect our environment and local food supply:


  • Buy/use local - foods grown locally in Iowa or in the midwest use less transportation (and therefore less gas and produce less emissions) to make it to our table. Iowa is first in the nation for producing pork, eggs, and corn, and among the top-producing states for soy, beef, turkey, cheese, and oats (source 1). There are plenty of options to buy local in Iowa! Use your local garden produce or herbs: try freezing or canning to keep them good for up to one year!

  • Reduce excess food packaging waste - choose to buy foods in less packaging. Use reusable grocery bags when shopping instead of plastic sacks. Use fabric/cloth napkins instead of paper napkins or towels when eating at home.

  • Store food in alternative packaging - use reusable silicone or paper food storage bags instead of plastic bags. Use glass food containers for storage or packing lunches instead of plastic or disposable containers.

  • Recycle/compost - recycle plastic, paper, cardboard food packaging and aluminum cans. Place certain food products in compost bins like fruit/veggie scraps, coffee grounds/filters, tea bags, egg shells, etc. See source 2 for a full list of what to compost/what not to compost. This compost can then be added to soil to help plants grow.

  • Reduce food waste - be smart about what you buy and will use. Plan meals that use up perishable food ingredients you already have and only buy amounts of foods you will use in a timely manner. Think of creative ways to use up foods, like combining some leftover veggies/meats into a casserole or soup, or using ripe fruit in smoothies, pancakes, or breads.

There are many examples of sustainable food practices. Most of all, do what you can. Some of these ideas may not be applicable for people in all situations. We all eat, and we can all do one thing to help sustain our food system!


Sources:

Iowa’s Rank in United States Agriculture https://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Iowa/Publications/Rankings/IA-2018-Rankings.pdf

Composting at Home

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home




Blog Provided By: Ann Parker, MHS, RD, LD