Photo by Nancy Patterson
Katherine at the Capital Harvest on the Plaza Farm Market every Friday noon to 2
Katherine at the Capital Harvest on the Plaza Farm Market every Friday noon to 2

For those of you who want to make a contribution toward saving the planet, you may want to consider changing what you eat.

What you eat profoundly affects not only your health, but the environment, too. This is important news because when it comes to environmental issues and halting global warming, many of us feel overwhelmed and helpless. So it’s amazing that something as simple as making better food choices can reduce global warming by lowering greenhouse gases, saving land, and conserving diminishing water and energy supplies.

Your protein choice will make the most significant difference on the environment (and your health). Producing meat requires six to seventeen times more land than growing vegetable protein, 26 times more water. And producing vegetables is up to 50 times more energy efficient than meat production, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Eating vegetable protein will also save your health. Decades of research has found that plants contain compounds (phytochemicals) with potent powers of healing. People who eat a plant-based diet are leaner, have less cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

But when eating more fruits and vegetables, it’s important to consider how and where they’re grown. Environmental resource conservation is reduced if food is transported long distances and grown in large industrial farms which specialize in only one or a few foods. Locally, organically produced food saves water, energy and encourages a region’s unique varieties of fruits and vegetables. Heirloom varieties, for example, have been passed down through generations, have natural resistance to pests, disease and are better able to tolerate local conditions without too much extra energy, pesticides or water.

How you can protect the environment through your food choices:

* Buy seasonally and locally at farm stands and farmers’ markets,
* Eat a plant-based diet,
* Reduce meat consumption,
* Use heirloom varieties, whenever possible,
* Buy organic whenever possible.

I'll see you at the Rose Park Farmers Market on Wednesdays, Capital Harvest on the Plaza Farmers Market (13th & PA Ave) on Fridays and the Dupont Circle Farmers Market on Sundays!

This article was excerpted from: The Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2007; 107: 1033 - 1043 "Position of the American Dietetic Association: Food and Nutrition Professionals Can Implement Practices to Conserve Natural Resources and Support Ecological Sustainability"

0 Comments For This Article

Andrea Rosen

I'm thrilled to see that the American Dietetic Association is on the cutting edge of environmental eating, ahead of most physicians and certainly the mainstream of the American public.


Great article! Convincing arguments. Makes me love my local farmers market all the more!