Clever, Fun Ways to Take Charge of What You Eat

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Jean-talon farmer's marketWhen you want to live a cleaner, more earth-friendly life, a good place to start is changing what you eat. However, it can be difficult to give your family not just healthy food, but meat and produce that is sustainably farmed and raised. It can also be frustrating when you are at the grocery store with limited options and high price tags. Luckily, there are fun ways to put sustainable, clean food on your family’s table. Try these activities that are beneficial for you and Mother Earth.

Gardening

Nothing is more satisfying than eating fruits and vegetables you grew yourself. Gardening is also a fun way to teach your children about the importance of where food comes from.

You can grow produce even in the smallest yards with raised beds and container gardens. OrganicGardening.com suggests using raised beds to help navigate the obstacles that sometimes come with backyard gardening, such as poor soil quality, pests, and weeds. You can also choose whatever organic soil and additives you want. Raised garden beds can be made out of eco-friendly wood and other natural materials or recycled products like old bricks or tires.

Shopping Local

A great way to get sustainably grown organic fruits and vegetables is to shop at a local farmer’s market or visit a farm in your area. Farmer’s markets feature vendors from all over the region, including professional farmers, urban gardeners, and crafters. You can buy anything from produce, soaps, and candles, to farm-fresh meat and eggs. It’s a fun way to spend a Sunday morning, and also a great way to support local farmers and businesses, not to mention find affordable prices on high-quality organic food.

To get even closer to the source, check to see if any small, family-owned farms in your region offer direct sales or “you pick” produce. Sites such as LocalHarvest.org can help you find a farm or market in your area.

Fishing

Fish is one of the most difficult foods to find when you want it fresh and sustainably-sourced. If you live near a natural fishing source, whether it’s a lake or the ocean, learn to catch your own fish. Fishing can be rewarding, and a great way to save on fresh fish.

Tip: If you are new to fishing and boating, check your state’s boating laws and safety regulations.

Canning and Preserving

When you grow your own food, buy in bulk from markets and farms, or catch your own fish, don’t allow your food to spoil. Learn how to can and preserve food as a great way to cut down on waste and save money. There is more to food preservation than sticking fruits and vegetables in mason jars or sticking fresh fish in the freezer, however. The National Center for Home Food Preservation offers tutorials for proper preservation methods including freezing, canning, drying, fermentation, and curing. If you properly seal and store your food, it can be safe to eat for many months or even years.