Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Make a Planet and Family Friendly Thanksgiving

I love Thanksgiving! It doesn't require candy or presents. The weekend is long. Family is full. And after the meal is done, there's lots of relaxation.

This year I ordered a heritage turkey. Makes me feel better about the meat part. Here's more info on choosing a sustainable turkey.

And, going back to the basics of Thanksgiving gives us a more planet friendly approach to the holiday.

Here's some tips --

Plan to take time: The irony of today’s world is that you have to set aside time to relax.Preparing a Thanksgiving meal that is meaningful and home-based takes time. So, plan for it. Take off the day. Ask for family help. Work together to prepare the meal and create family ties and traditions in the process.

Cook up a storm: Cooking your own food tends to not only be healthier and more cost effective but also promotes family bonds and traditions. At its most basic, you have the turkey, potatoes, gravy, another vegetable or salad, rolls, and a dessert. The easiest way to learn how to cook is from a parent, relative, or friend. Keep it simple and build from there. And in the cleanup, recycle all your packaging and compost your uncooked veggie and fruit scraps. You can also compost any used paper napkins and bread scraps.

Be happily picky: Your future food security and safety depends on choosing food that is raised more sustainably with the least amount of chemicals and closest proximity to where you live. For your turkey, make the effort to go organic, certified humane, or heritage.Heritage turkeys help to protect poultry diversity. If you choose a smaller turkey, this will help to offset the expense. Also choose organic or locally produced vegetables whenever possible; seasonable is best.

Really says thanks: What is your family really grateful for? Say it with word and deed.Speak up at the family meal and have father, mother, or another family member state the obvious – what you are celebrating Thanksgiving for. Then, strengthen those family ties by doing things with each other over the holiday. These are traditions and memories that stay with you. And having had a very stressful year for most of us due to economic trying times, studies show that this reconnecting with family and friends is one of the best ways to relieve that stress.

Connect beyond the bird: After Thanksgiving, you can connect with nearby food groups to learn how to cook better, how to find cost-effective local foods, and to support community-based agriculture. Go to sites like slowfoodusa.org and localharvest.org or your local farmer’s market or farm to find fresh, regional food, understand local food issues, and eat more seasonably all year round.

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