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Simple Ideas For A Sustainable Thanksgiving

Simple Ideas For A Sustainable Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just a little over a week away, food is on everybodyís mind. Thanksgiving originated as a way to celebrate the Pilgrim’s bountiful autumn harvest. So, to me it seems fitting that we honor our farmers on this day.

The foods we consider Thanksgiving’s traditional foods: turkey, cranberries and pumpkin should come from farms that use†sustainable growing methods, and that look at the growing of food as the gift that it is, not simply as a commodity.

Planning the Thanksgiving feast is often stressful enough, trying to make it a sustainable one can make it seem overwhelming. That’s one reason that Slow Foods USA has created a guide to help you create your own Slow Food Thanksgiving.

The site offers links to information and sources of heritage turkeys as well as heirloom, indigenous and endangered foods. While heritage turkeys are expensive, you get a turkey that is more flavorful, supports small family farms that raise animals humanely and that will help keep these historical animals safe from extinction. Less expensive alternatives to a heritage turkey include finding a certified organic or locally grown bird or a pastured or free-range turkey.

Slow Foodís tips for making a slow thanksgiving include shopping for fresh,†seasonal, and local foods at a farmers market and taking the time to learn about where your food comes from and how it was raised.

They also remind us to give thanks for the labor that brought your food to your table and the earth that grew it. This is something that I think most of us don’t even consider when we sit down at a special meal. Those that advocate for a truly sustainable food system do include the labor and environmental costs that go into producing our food and there’s probably no better time than Thanksgiving to do that.

While it is always preferable to cook with as many seasonal, fresh and local ingredients as possible for better health and for the environment, those who live in areas where fields are frozen face an additional challenge. That’s why Slow Food suggests using recipes that call for long-storing ingredients like root vegetables and squash.

To find a local heritage turkey farm, or other farms, CSAs, and farmers markets, near you, search Local Harvest or the Eat Well Guide.

You can also search the US Ark of Taste, a catalog of over 200 foods in danger of extinction in categories ranging from beverages, bread, grains and cereals, cheeses, fruits, herbs and spices, nuts, vegetables and wines and vinegars.

Related Articles:
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
Have a Vegan Thanksgiving
Source a Sustainably Raised Turkey for Thanksgiving

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Lawns & Gardens, Nature, Thanksgiving, , , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.


+ add your own
4:03PM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Thank you.

1:38PM PST on Nov 14, 2012


6:27AM PST on Nov 20, 2011

It is good to have a sustainable thanksgiving now if we can get it into the rest of ourlives.

8:39AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

In the past, having a dinner without some sort of meat or fish was unimaginable to me.
Today, we are taking strides to have 1 or 2 meatless meals a week and enjoying them quite nicely, thank you very much.

8:04AM PST on Nov 18, 2011

Go VEGAN, or if you can't Go Veggie!

7:50PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

I'm from Venezuela and don't speak english and thoth Thanksgiving sustainable means without turkeys. Sorry but don't think humanitary kills exists, Thanks, I don't want to know nothing about that.

3:44PM PST on Nov 17, 2011

This is so awesome when the budget is tight for everyone.

6:52AM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Thanks for the tips Judi!~

5:34AM PST on Nov 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

5:27AM PST on Nov 17, 2011

great post

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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