You and your stomach's footprint

If you are reading this I assume that you are alive. And being someone who is alive, you are a part of your eco-system; food and drink goes in and you have your err.. outputs (didn’t want to say poo, but you get the drift).

You also have a number of other requirements – the fact that you’re reading this article means that you are consuming energy by way of print or internet, you are probably clothed, housed somewhere, have a mode of transport, have an electronic device or five. Most likely you are a really BIG consumer of resources.

This modern, comfortable life you enjoy does have an impact on your eco-system but no single contributing factor plays a bigger impact than food. It’s not just the food you eat that I’m talking about either, it is also the stuff that goes around that food. For example, the dye used to colour a packet of chips uses more resources than what it takes to grow the potatoes themselves. So it could be argued that your lifestyle choices rather than the foods you eat have huge impact.

But let’s not fool ourselves, we do not all live on self-sustained farms – agriculture is not at our back doors. We live in a modern world and that’s cool, we just have to learn how to have our cake and eat it too!

So what to do (in a couple of hundred words or less)? Embrace the eco-system that supports you, understand that you are here and have a right to eat and drink but should do so responsibly and consciously.

Here are a few more simple tips:

1. Don’t waste anything. This alone will reduce the amount of food used and therefore the energy inputs required to feed us by about 25%.

2. Don’t eat processed foods. Or at the very least reduce the amount you eat. Next time you eat a bag of chips, forget the nutritional content of the food. Instead consider the dyes, packaging and shipping that went into making that food, which was really not that nice and probably not good for you anyway.

3. Buy local & seasonally. When food that is grown near you is in great abundance, it will be cheaper and also support the farmers that keep you alive.

4. Grow something, anything! Herbs, tomatoes, cucumber, even worms and compost are brilliant things to grow. If you like eating food in the form we currently are, we are simply going to have to start growing soil as that too will run out. Composting is really easy and helps.

These are just four quick things that will make your world a better place one mouthful at a time, or at least will start you thinking. I never thought I would be quoting Michael Jackson but “if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.”

Jared Ingersoll,

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