Sustainable food

Lettuce bed  ©Janet Allen
Part of our lettuce bed

We've come to understand that food is a uniquely important part of a sustainable life and a sustainable society.

The production and consumption of food touches on almost every part of what is needed to be a society that, in the words of the Brundtland Commission, "… meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Garden soil ©Janet Allen
Nurturing our garden soil

Sustainability with respect to food relates to how it's raised, especially regarding topsoil and chemicals; how the animals involved are treated; and how growing and marketing it respects the people who raise it.

We do all we can to nurture the fertility and protect the structure of our own garden's soil.

U-pick blueberries ©Janet Allen
John picking some extra blueberries at a local organic farm

For us, this means we:

  • use our land to grow some of our own food
  • buy organic food when possible
  • buy local foods when possible
  • buy foods that consider justice for the earth, for other creatures, and for the people who raise the food.
  • And, surprisingly, coffee is an especially important product to consider.

Minimizing food waste at the source

Broccoli in our garden ©Janet Allen
Broccoli in our garden

An additional project we're working on is to minimize food waste by eating more parts of the individual plant. Apparently, people in other countries use parts of the plants that we typically throw away. We ourselves happen to compost our food scraps, but now it occurs to us that it doesn't all have to be scraps!

One example is broccoli. Not only is the stalk edible (once peeled) — actually not merely edible but one of our favorite parts of the plant—but the leaves are edible, too.

Oddly, we had always used the stalks of the broccoli we bought, but not the stalks of the broccoli we grew. And leaves are always missing from the broccoli in the store, which is why we never thought to eat the leaves of the broccoli we grew.

There are other examples, too. We are using more of the center stem of the kale leaves, and so on.