Monday, April 22, 2013

Celebrating Earth Day

Today marks the 45th Anniversary of Earth Day! Honestly, Earth Day in the past has meant very little to me and nothing special. However, in the past year the sustainability of our planet has become a very real issue to me. Regardless of whether or not you believe in global warming, the fact that we are over stretching our natural resources through our lifestyle cannot be denied. When we moved back to Blacksburg this past fall, a town very much involved in the sustainable agriculture movement, I knew it was time to do my part in contributing to and endorsing sustainable agriculture/ living both as an individual and as a dietitian.

Here's what I'm doing personally:

(1) Jordan and I are excited to have officially joined our first CSA (Community Shared Agriculture)! What this means is that we will be receiving a box of organic produce weekly May through October from Riverstone Organic Farm based out of Floyd, VA.
The owners were kind enough to let us just "pop in" one Friday afternoon and check the place out.
This was early March, so all the plants were still in the greenhouses.
(2) I've always wanted my own garden, but at this point we're still renting and can't really tear up the yard. We decided to try our hand at creating a small patio garden.

New post-run activity: playing with dirt :)
For now we planted bok choi, broccoli and lettuce-- all sourced from local farms. Hopefully more to come.
(3) Diet: When I became a vegetarian last May, it was more out of curiosity and to support my husband (who has been vegetarian for a few years). Over the past year, my awareness of my dietary choices' affect on our planet has grown. What I have gain from this change: not only do I feel better physically, I am more at peace with my daily dietary choices and the effects it has on our environment. Even if you think a strictly vegetarian diet is too much to handle, choosing to eat meatless one or more meals a week can make a difference!

Environmental Defense estimates that, “If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains … the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off of U.S. roads. … If every American had one meat-free meal per week, it would be the same as taking more than 5 million cars off our roads. Having one meat-free day per week would be the same as taking 8 million cars off American roads.”

And as a dietitian:

(4) At work, we will now have a weekly farmers market for the independent living residents and employees to come and buy local produce (starting in May). They too can choose to buy a CSA if interested. One of the cafes at our wellness center will be building their menu around these locally grown/sourced foods. Finally, we are starting a garden club for the nursing home residents to participate in and grow some produce on-site. My goal is to use the club to teach them more about sustainable agriculture-- after all, you're never too old to learn.

(5) I am joining the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group through my professional organization with and will be contributing a few articles to their quarterly newsletter. Hopefully that's just the beginning :)

This Earth Day, I hope you will take time not only to celebrate our Earth and its bountiful resources, but also to reflect on what you can do personally to help sustain it.

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