Thursday, May 8, 2014

Curious about Sustainable Food But Not Sure What it Is?

Sustainable is a word we hear a lot today and most of us would agree it's a positive concept, but what exactly is sustainable food and how we can incorporate it into our already busy lives?

Sustainable Living
First of all to understand about sustainable food, we have to understand the principle behind sustainable living. This is a lifestyle of recognizing the connection and relationship between all living things and protecting our natural resources. I'm sure you are familiar with the term "carbon footprint". People engaged in sustainable living are conscious of the resources they use in areas such as food production, energy usage, and transportation and strive to use sources that are renewable. They are also aware of the impact that what they do has on other ecosystems and parts of the network. This philosophy extends not only to food sources and energy, but to systems such as education, land use, community structure and social issues. In a sense everything is looked at in terms of how it is connected to other things and the impact what is being done has on those other areas. It follows the pattern and cycles of natural eco-systems in nature and strives to keep them in balance.

Sustainable Food
Sustainable food would therefore be eating food sources that take the sustainable living model into account. We have to look first at how the food we eat is produced. Is it being produced in a way that the water table is affected by heavy irrigation? Are pesticides being used causing environmental damage of chemical runoff? Is the land itself being damaged with soil erosion and disturbing other ecological systems? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then these are not sustainable food sources. Now look at how the food you eat is being transported, how does it get to your grocery store? Does transporting the food involve using a lot of fossil fuels? Is the air being affected with excess pollution from carbon emissions? If yes, then again, these are not sustainable food sources. Another consideration is how the food is packaged and what resources are involved with creating the packaging, transporting it and disposing of that packaging. Sustainable food would deal with these types of problems by using local food sources that use sustainable farming methods that would protect the land, water and air. This supports local farmers thus giving a boost to local economies and reduces the use of fossil fuel and carbon emissions resulting from transporting over long distances. Sustainable food practices also supports growing vegetables and fruits that are in season for that area. That reduces the use of greenhouses and extra resources needed to support that type of agriculture.

Benefits of Sustainable Food
By getting local seasonal produce, people would be consuming fresher fruits and vegetables. The need for chemicals used to preserve produce for long distance transportation would not be necessary. If the time from field to store was reduced by selling locally, more farmers could engage in organic farming which is more in keeping with the sustainable living model. Foods in season can be frozen, vacuum sealed, canned, pickled or dehydrated for use in off season. This eliminates the need for additives and preservatives that you know aren't healthy, but have been necessary for long distance transportation and long shelf life in grocery stores.

Even though we have been concentrating on sustainable food sources of fruits and vegetables, we aren't suggesting that everyone has to become vegetarian in this model. Production of meat sources face many of the same problems in transportation, processing and damage to land, air and water resources. A sustainable eating model may consider cutting down on the amount of meat eaten and/or simply buying meat locally. Consumption of animal foods from animals that are wild, free range or grass fed not only creates a healthier source, but also one in tune with the sustainable food model.

Sustainable Food Sources
People who live in more rural areas often already have access to the space to have a home garden or to local farms to buy produce, meats and dairy foods. But what about the city dwellers? With a little thinking and planning, this model can work even for the city folk. Community gardens, farmer's markets, landscaping yards with vegetable plants and fruits trees and bushes and CSA's are all ways to create sustainable food sources within cities. In some instances some of these solutions would mean changing zoning laws and educating people, but that type of networking is what sustainable living is all about.

AFA Bluegreen Algae as a Sustainable Food
The AFA bluegreen algae we recommend definitely follows sustainable living practices and is a sustainable food source. It comes from a unique eco-system in southern Oregon, fed by pure lake and mountain spring waters and is nourished by the rich mineral content of the volcanic soil found there. This wild bluegreen algae is abundant, edible and sustainable. Once harvested it regenerates itself quickly, no pesticides are needed, it must have pure water to live and grow so pure water is a must and it is a basic whole food nutrition source. The company packages all the products in recyclable packaging and even the packing peanuts are from recyclable materials that leave no carbon footprint. It also has implemented programs that help feed impoverished, malnourished and hungry people around the world in sustainable ways providing them with increased fatty acids, lean proteins and amino acids that support the body with a profile that is 97% similar to mother's milk.

Algae is at the foundation of the food chain and involved in producing 70% of the earth's oxygen. It captures sunlight through photosynthesis and folds its energy into edible compounds that our body releases as sunshine in our cells. Simple, full-spectrum, whole food nutrition straight from nature, harvested and packaged in accordance with sustainable living practices. Now that's what I call a sustainable food!

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Image courtesy of amenic181 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Sources:
http://ecoliteracy.org/discover
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sustainable_living
http://www.unileverusa.com/sustainable-living/sustainablesourcing/

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