Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day: The Greenest Food Is The Food You Harvest Yourself

On Earth Day, I like to celebrate by eating meat and veggies which I have harvested myself.  The wild turkeys have not gotten on board yet this spring, so this Earth Day, it will be a pheasant stir fry.  I've written on this before, but a lot of people do not realize that the "greenest" meat you can eat is meat you hunted and harvested yourself.

Think about it: The supermarket chicken or beef that you consume has been bred to produce more meat.  It has been injected with all sorts of stuff to improve yield.  The profit margin on things like pork and chicken is so small that farmers grow these animals in huge barns stuffed to the gills with animals.  Your beef may have been raised in Texas and shipped to Maine or Alaska or Washington.

In contrast, the deer or turkey you shoot is living wild and free until the moment you shoot it.  It lives on fresh feed.  Fossil fuels were not burned to feed it, butcher it, or ship it to a market near you.  Hunted meat is the ultimate "green" meat.

Having said that, if I had to live on meat that I hunted, I would get very hungry.  Sure, a lot of my meat is hunted, but I just don't have the time to get out and hunt as much as I would like to.

If you are like me and can't get out and hunt and fish as much as you would like...or maybe hunting and fishing are not your thing, there are other things you can do to be "more green" this Earth Day.

1) Shop your local farmers market.

Meat and veggies in these markets did not travel from South America to get to your plate.  They traveled from an adjacent county.  Also, honestly, these markets are a lot of fun.

2) Grow your own food

In a 4 foot by 8 foot garden bed, you can plant enough tomatoes, peppers, and onions to keep you in fresh salsa all late summer and fall.  With a small investment, canning your salsa is pretty easy and can make your harvest last until next year.  A small garden is really quite easy.  If you are space limited, you could grow a lot of things in pots on a deck.

Every morsel of food that is grown in your back yard is something that is not processed, packaged, and shipped.

3) Buy a hunting or fishing license

Do this even if you don't choose to hunt or fish.  Money collected from license sales is directed back into conservation efforts.  These conservation efforts are not limited to improving hunting and fishing options.  The projects more often than not directly benefit non-game species.  Additionally, habitat improvements which target game species will help non-game species as well.

Partaking in just one of the above is huge.  All three, and you are entitled to the badge of smugness reserved for Prius drivers.  Enjoy your Earth Day.

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