Whether you’re packing it up and heading out of town for a weekend with family and friends or sticking around and planning your own feast, there are a number of things you can do to show some gratitude to the Earth and make your festivities a little more sustainable this year.
- All together now! — There’s something to be said for gathering people together under one roof, using energy in one place instead of multiple houses. Bonus points for carpooling to get there.
- Buy local and in season — Ever notice how yams aren’t really so popular in the summer? Eating seasonally around this time of year is almost built-in to the holiday, since Thanksgiving stems from the Fall harvest tradition. That said, your yams could be trucked into your local grocery store from halfway across the continent. Try hitting up a local farmers’ market, and check your food labels. Buy organic if you can. It tastes better, is better for your health, and bees everywhere will thank you.
- Use re-usable plates, cutlery, and consider cloth napkins — As much as it’s great to bring everyone together, the thought of doing dishes afterwards can be overwhelming, and these types of festivities can produce an awful lot of waste. Amazingly, a dishwasher, when full, is actually more efficient than hand-washing, but if you’re the dishwasher, scraping and rinsing dishes right away lessens the burden afterwards. Enlist help to make it go faster. In my family, washing and drying dishes together can be another excuse to hang out. Buddy system=kitchen party.
- Reduce food waste — I know. Nobody makes candied yams like Auntie Ethel, and Grandma’s roasted garlic mashed potatoes are out of this world, but sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. If you load up your plate and can’t finish it, scraping all that leftover deliciousness into the compost is kind of sad. So pack up your leftovers (turkey soup, anyone?) and try taking smaller portions and going back for seconds if necessary. If Uncle Bert elbows you away from the last of the potatoes, well, consider that more room for dessert.
~ celeste - outreach and communications coordinator
photo credit - jonathan rausseo