10 Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is second in a slew of holidays at this time of year that have become one extended caloric nightmare.  Marketers have successfully driven consumers to celebrate these holidays in an atmosphere of frenzied food consumption, often from everyday pre-packaged products festooned with special holiday cheer.  However, you can say no to the pre-packaged cheer and have a hearty, sustainable meal.  Below are 10 tips to a healthier, humane, sustainable, "low carb(on)" and labor friendly Thanksgiving from some fantastic organizations, some of whom we're working with for the Social Action campaign for our film, Food, Inc.

1. Buy produce from your local farmers market.  Rather than eating grapes from Mexico, apples from Argentina or potatoes from China, purchase as much of your holiday produce from a local farmer! takepart with the Eat Well Guide to find one near you.

2. Buy organic produce whenever possible.  Organic produce is safer, tastes better than conventional produce and is readily available at farmers markets and supermarkets nationwide.  Also, look for organic wines, beverages and condiments.

3. Support a farm worker.  Thousands of migrant workers labor in dangerous, brutal conditions for little pay to bring food to our table every day. takepart to help to improve the lives of farm workers and their families through the United Farm Workers.

4.Adopt-a-turkey! Yes, you read this correctly.  Millions of turkeys are raised in inhumane, industrial settings.  takepart in Farm Sanctuary's program to rescue turkeys and you can enjoy a holiday free from animal cruelty.

5. Have a no-waste meal. Think about how much tinfoil, paper goods and leftover food are thrown away, to spend many, many years in a landfill. The average US family wastes $600 worth of food annually. Landfills are a significant source of global warming causing greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, use re-usable products and wash them, if possible in a dishwasher with eco-friendly detergent.

6. Get moving!  The exhaustion you feel on Thanksgiving is from all of the fat, sugar and calories. takepart in a Turkey Trot running race in your community-you'll feel a lot better and perhaps have a bit more room for pie.

7. Skip turkey. I know it's bold of me to write this, but I've enjoyed turkey-free Thanksgivings for nearly 25  years and the meals are always delicious. Factory farming is inhumane to animals and an extremely dangerous workplace for its workers. You will also greatly reduce your carbon footprint by skipping meat.  The livestock sector accounts for an astounding 1/5 of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

8. Drink delicious tap water.  If you're concerned about your water quality, Food and Water Watch can help to find the right filtration system for you. Bottled water creates waste, often privatizes water sources and usually isn't safer or healthier than tap water (and it's frequently just over-priced tap water).

9. Eat endangered foods. I'm not talking about elephants or whales but foods such as the Capitol Reef Apple, Amish Deer Tongue Lettuce and the Gilfeather Turnip.  takepart in Slow Food USA's program which encourages individuals to help save foods on the verge of extinction by eating them.  It's a yummy way to help preserve local cuisines and foods and ensure they remain part of culinary traditions.

10. Share your tip for how to have a sustainable Thanksgiving!  Click on the "comment" option at the top of this blog.


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