What you can do: make healthy choices

Shop local

By choosing local produce, you support local farmers, local stores, local economies, and sustainability! Local produce doesn't have to travel as far to reach your store, therefore you can get very fresh produce, with more varieties, that has had more time to grow and become delicious and nutritious. Less travel distance also means less fuel is consumed, so the environmental impact is minimized. Of course, products such as bananas and pineapple cannot be grown locally, but when the choice is there — such as between grapes grown locally versus those trucked from across the country — the best choice for everyone is the local product. Choosing local also keeps us in touch with the seasons: when in season, foods taste their best and are the least expensive. Visit eatlocal.org and eatlocalchallenge.com for more reasons to eat local.

Shop organic

When the choice is there, be good to yourself! Choose organic products. Organic produce has a higher nutritional value because it is grown with organic, rather than chemical, fertilizers, and the plants are supplied with all their required nutrients. Organic foods are also grown without pesticides (carcinogens), and are not genetically-modified. You may find the organic produce is either the same price, or only slightly more expensive. This is seldom the case with supermarkets! Find a farmer's market — often they are year-round. Their prices are generally lower across the board when it comes to fresh produce, and the quality is often higher. You're also likely to find local produce.

Environmentally-friendly choices

It is most environmentally-friendly and healthy to make product choices in this order: Local organic, local conventional, non-local organic, non-local conventional.

Grow your own

Growing your own fruits or vegetables doesn't have to require a front yard. Even the smallest outdoor patio can accomodate a tomato plant or two. Visit Seeds of Change for some great how-tos.

What you can do: share knowledge

Pass it on!

Tell your friends and family about the issues. Let them know what you're doing to make healthy choices, how easy it is, and how good you feel about it! If you're involved in blogging or other kinds of journalism, share your knowledge and experiences with your readers. Visit the blog to start sharing!

Start a blog

If you're passionate about health, and like writing or image-making, it's easy to start communicating via a blog. (Do tell me the web address if you do, so I can post a link to it.) To get started blogging, try MovableType, WordPress, or Blogger.

What you can do: demand changes to legislation

One small step...

Municipal and provincial/state representatives listen to their constituents and public. Speak your mind, send a petition, and encourage your friends and family to avoid certain products and stores in favour of more sustainable ones. In starting at the lower levels of government, we can have more success in getting representatives to speak about our concerns in Parliament and make changes. Whether it be demanding better labelling, refusing genetic modification, or causing an uproar over chemical use, we can make a difference. The key is to start small.
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© Erika Rathje 2006
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