This article is part of a four-part series on buying, storing, preserving and composting foods to prevent waste.
Throwing out spoiled food is already a bummer, but many of us are unaware of the major impact food waste has on our environment and economy both locally and globally. Did you know that 40% of food produced in the US ends up as waste? There is a certain amount of spoilage that occurs at every stage of the food supply chain between production and plate, but in this country the biggest piece of that pie comes from consumers. Not only does the energy that went into producing, packaging and shipping that food go to waste, but when food ends up in a landfill it breaks down anaerobically and releases greenhouse gases. According to the UN, food loss and waste accounts for 8% of total global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a lot considering the competition, aviation only contributes 1.4%. The global cost of all this wasted food is a staggering $940 billion, around $161 billion in the US alone. That breaks down to around $2,000 a year per family.
If it seems like every few years the recommendations for eating eggs changes, that’s because it does. The issue is that egg yolks are a rich source of dietary cholesterol, but do not contain saturated fats which co-exist in most other sources of cholesterol like red meats. Cholesterol is an important structural component in all animal cells but having too much in our blood is associated with increased risk of heart disease. What has been challenging for scientists to figure out is the relationship between the cholesterol we eat and our blood cholesterol. It has been well established at this point that eating more saturated fat can increase blood levels of unhealthy cholesterol and lead to heart disease, but the understanding of dietary cholesterol on its own is still murky.
Javier Fortoso, the owner of Torti Taco, built his company on high moral and ethical values. Using local food sources has been a priority of Fortoso’s since he opened and you can taste the difference in his products. In 2018, Torti Taco took 1st place at Kalamazoo’s Tacos And Tequila festival and Detroit’s Taco Showdown! It was their first time attending both events.
The expanding collaboration and partnership among growers and producers in southeast Michigan forges a robust and resilient food system. Bløm Meadworks and Fresh Forage intentionally cultivate these connections to grow their local food community. Both businesses place a high priority on sourcing ingredients from Michigan producers while also committing support to their surrounding communities.
After months of gray skies and storage vegetables, the first spring crops are a welcome relief for the eyes and the palette. An often underappreciated crop is the humble, but delicious, spring radish. An edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family (it’s cousins are broccoli, kale, collards, and cabbage), radishes come in a variety of colors (yay for antioxidants!) and shapes.
You already eat, drink, and shop local, right? Today, I invite you to expand your locavore-ism to a new realm: Reading local. Specifically, reading The Orphan Daughter, the story of how two fragile souls – 11-year-old orphan Lucy Ortiz and her aunt, prickly empty- nester Jane McArdle — forge a family in the aftermath of tragedy. Set on Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, it touches on themes of motherhood, finding home, resilience and forgiveness. Here’s why:
Spring has officially sprung! As you shake off the winter haze, now is the perfect time to start planning thinking about where your food is coming from this summer. Which community farmers market will you attend? Will you plant your own garden? Should you join a CSA? There are so many options for accessing local food!
Pollinators may appear small, but they have a massive impact in our ecosystem. These buzzing bees and native pollinators are a necessary, yet often forgotten, component of our food system. When habitat needs are met, these fundamental creatures can produce the fruits we love, and many of the seeds that provide our nourishing foods. We need their help as much as they need ours. Given the significant decline in bee populations, it is a crucial time for farms to create healthy habitats, food, and refuge for our pollinators.
This year, consider what you should add into your daily diet rather than remove. Moving beyond restrictive diets is one of TLD’s top health goals for you in 2019.
Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the US and a national leader in the cultivation of apples, asparagus, blueberries, tart cherries, green beans, dry beans, potatoes and squash. Despite our rich produce production, most Michiganders still do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and 32% of our children are overweight or obese.
Fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of good health and lifelong health patterns are often established in childhood. Exposure to healthy habits at an early age can encourage long term health. One of the best places for this positive exposure to occur is in the school setting. Fortunately, a statewide pilot program, 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms, is supporting schools in infusing more fresh, Michigan grown produce into their menus.