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Sustainability Starts on Your Plate: How to Make Sustainable Food Choices

vegetable salad on plate makes sustainable food choices

Did you know that the food on your plate holds the power to save the planet? At Made to Sustain, we know that anyone who loves food needs to love the environment too. As awareness around the environmental impact of everyday choices increases, sustainable food choices have been at the forefront of discussion. From reducing food waste to supporting local and organic farmers, there are plenty of simple ways you can make conscious choices when it comes to the food you eat. Discover how to make a positive environmental impact through the conscious choices of sustainable foods and brands!


What is Food Sustainability?

Sustainability can mean many things. Food sustainability refers to the production, distribution, and consumption of food in a manner that meets the needs of the present without compromising future generations. Balancing the economic and environmental impact of the food system is paramount to ensure resilient and equitable for all.Many factors add up to food sustainability, but agriculture and processing are the most resource intensive factors, especially with water and emissions.

In fact, agriculture is a comprises about 28% of the total global greenhouse gases emitted annually. While not all of the agriculture is for food production. Agriculture can have a large impact on water usage and chemical run off into waste streams. It’s important to consider the farming practices when looking at food sustainability.Another key aspect of food sustainability we can all contribute to is reducing food waste, which is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems. By making simple changes in our daily lives, such as planning meals, shopping smart, and storing food properly, we can all play a part in reducing food waste and promoting a more sustainable food system.


Reducing Food Waste

Reducing food waste is an important part of promoting a sustainable food system. According to the FAO, about one-third of all food produced in the world is lost or wasted every year. As food breaks down, it releases Methane, which is 25x more potent than CO2 emissions. Food waste not only contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems, but also wastes resources such as water, energy, labor, and land that are used to produce the food.

Fortunately, there are many simple steps that we can take to reduce food waste in our daily lives. For example, planning meals and making a shopping list can help us avoid buying more food than we need. Properly storing food can also extend its lifespan and reduce the likelihood of spoilage or waste. Additionally, using leftover food in creative ways or sharing it with friends and family can help prevent it from going to waste. We often post leftovers inspiration on our social channel, so be sure to check us out on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube!

Reducing food waste not only benefits the environment but also saves money and supports food security. By minimizing waste and making the most of our food resources, we can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable food system for all. But reducing waste is just the start; selecting products that are produced with sustainable agriculture can also have a significant impact on the environment and our food system.

sustainable food is assorted fruits on person s hand

Choosing Sustainable Agriculture

In addition to reducing food waste, another way we can positively impact the environment and our food system is by choosing food sourced from sustainable agriculture. Sustainable agriculture refers to farming practices that are environmentally conscious, socially responsible, and economically viable. Sustainable farmers prioritize soil health, biodiversity, and animal welfare while minimizing the use of chemicals and synthetic inputs. Supporting local and organic farmers is a great way to ensure that our food choices align with our values.

Choosing foods that are sustainably produced supports the environment and benefits our health. Produce grown using sustainable agricultural techniques typically result in food that is higher in nutrients from better soil quality. Its often fresher and tastier than conventionally farmed products too. Small, local farmers are a great place to start when it comes to supporting sustainable agriculture. Since chemicals are expensive to smaller farmers, they tend to use less. They also note the seasonality of foods and understand the ideal circumstances to grow food.

By purchasing produce and other foods from local sources, we also reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and support local farmers. While grocery shopping, there are several certifications you can use to identify sustainably produced foods, including looking Upcycled, USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified, and Rainforest Alliance Certified. Many brands are eager to make sustainability claims, however, It’s also important to support local farmers who use sustainable practices by shopping at farmers’ markets and participating in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. You can also learn more about supporting sustainable brands on our new landing page!


A few thoughts on Organic farming for Food Sustainability

Organic farming practices rely on natural fertilizers and pest control methods instead of synthetic chemicals that can harm the environment and human health. Organic farms also tend to prioritize biodiversity and preserving natural habitats. However, organic certifications can be expensive to obtain. Additionally, they are not pesticide free, contrary to popular belief. Organic farming also has a higher carbon footprint per ton of food grown because the yields are typically lower. Many small-scale farmers may choose to farm organically, but may not carry the USDA Organic seal. The advantage of larger farms with higher income is that they can afford to carry this renowned certification, but a small farm may be hindered by the cost.

This is not to say organic is bad, but just be mindful that it’s not always the most sustainable option. If you go to a market or have a CSA, talk to your local farmers and learn about what they are growing. Supporting local farmers is not only good for the environment, but it also helps to build stronger communities and promotes healthier eating habits. By choosing foods produced sustainably and locally, we can make a positive impact on the planet and our own well-being.

Sustainable Food Choices: Plant-Based or Plant Forward Diets

Adopting a plant-based diet is one of the most impactful actions we can take to support sustainable food practices. Plant-based diets have been shown to have numerous health benefits for individuals and can significantly reduce the environmental impact of our food choices. For example, Animal agriculture is a major contributor to deforestation, water pollution, and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Not only is American animal agriculture largely inhumane , but it is largely impactful to the planet as well. 

Converting to 100% plant based diet isn’t for everyone, and it’s not an easy task. That’s why we try to help you make more conscious, sustainable food choices that are easy to incorporate into your everyday living. Choosing plant-based options instead can help reduce the demand for these harmful practices. Additionally, plant-based diets often require less land, water, and energy to produce, making them a more sustainable option for feeding a growing global population. By incorporating more plant-based meals into our diets, we can support sustainable food practices and improve our own health. By choosing plant-based options, we can make a positive impact on the environment, but it’s important to consider how these foods are produced. Here are some links to some great and sustainable recipes from our website that you can incorporate into your rotations:

Sustainable Food Choices Start With You!

Making sustainable food choices is essential for reducing our impact on the planet. By incorporating more plant-based meals and supporting local and organic farmers, we can help build a more sustainable food system that prioritizes the health of the environment and our communities. From reducing food waste to choosing sustainable agriculture, eating a plant-based diet, and supporting local and organic farmers, every little action counts. So let’s take responsibility for our food choices and help save the planet, one plate at a time. As the famous quote goes, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” Let’s make sure we leave them a planet worth borrowing.

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