I’m sure most of us have moved on from that tired old cliche of calling vegetables, “rabbit food”. Thankfully the world, generally, accepts now that eating more vegetables is essential to balancing a healthy lifestyle. It seems almost comical, that the FDA has only this year officially recognised that eating a healthy diet, combined with regular exercise “reduces overall risk of mortality”, but there you go – the official narrative has finally caught up. The most recent debate, and one which we consider most important here at LETE, concerns food sustainability. And no we are not chirping that, sustainable influencers fully vegan diet, to mitigate this. That said, raising farm animals in the suburbs is just not a thing. We are here to discuss some ways we can all start eating more consciously and sustainably.
All food production practices impact our environment, whether that be meat farming and processing or large scale crop planting and growing. Land use and degradation, fresh water consumption, and the widespread use of toxic pesticides, fertilisers and hormones in our food cycles, paint a grim picture for sustainable food practices. Unfortunately ya’ girl ain’t here to discuss all the nuances of the aforementioned, we ain’t got time for that. Rather we thought we would discuss some ways you can skip the anxiety-inducing trip to the supermarket to buy your “fresh” produce, as well as some of the best spring foods to eat. Read on for some handy tips.
Eat seasonally, the best spring foods to eat – from our “experts”
One of the easiest ways to eat more sustainably is to eat foods that are in season. It’s also about this time of year you start craving something light and refreshing over carb-loaded, cold creature comforts. Lucky for us, springtime does mean more vegetables, but an unfortunate end to the citrus season – ugh!
Here are our top “expert” picks, to get you started.
Cauliflower is delicious and so versatile! It is in abundance at this time of year, so why not try blitzing this delicious, cruciferous and swapping out for rice? Cauliflower “steaks” are also in vogue. Season and grill on the BBQ, with a generous helping of spicy chipotle, or batter the florets and fry those bad boys up. Buffy Ellen has a mouth watering recipe for Kentucky Fried Cauli-Florets up on our website.
Only peasants think asparagus is gross – just kidding! Truly though, forget about tinned asparagus and introduce your palate to some fresh, seasonal spears. Chop, season and saute for a quick spring bite, or get a bit more adventurous with an asparagus pesto. Check out an easy recipe here.
If you live in Northland or the Bay of Plenty, get yo ass to your nearest avocado orchard, while the rest of us envy you right now. Most avocados, in this country, are grown in these regions and there is a glut of these delicious, dragon fleshed eggs from August - February. I’m going to be a basic bitch here and say you can never go wrong with fresh guacamole. Add some garlic, spring onions, fresh tomatoes, lemon juice, and salt & pepper for a fail proof win in the kitchen! Sneak in just a pinch of smoked paprika to impress your mates.
Cucumber! Delicious and nutritious – slice, salt & pepper, a drizzle of olive oil. Heaven. That is all.
Guerilla planting. Vege patches are so last season, start planting your verges.
Planting your own fruits and vegetables is probably the most sustainable way to eat your leafy greens. If you don’t have space in your backyard/a backyard – or the state of our food industries has you feeling belligerent, why not try your hand at guerilla planting?
Technically….guerilla planting describes the accomplishment of gardening on soil where the legal right to plant is gray. The act of commandeering a public piece of land, denotes the “guerilla” aspect. For some it’s a form of protest, others a practical answer to planting sustainable gardens for everyone to enjoy. Think neglected and forgotten community spaces, a corner of a park, walkways or even the grass verges outside your suburban home. Take a walk around the Auckland suburb of Grey Lynn to see some guerilla verges.
Comparatively speaking it has been slow to catch on, compared to our neighbors in the northern hemisphere. I’m just waiting for the eco-influencers to jump on this new trend. Maybe 2023 is our year? Imagine if your street was lined with apple trees instead of maples? Connect with other local guerillas here.
Go local and buy organic when you can
Now, if neither of the above options 'a-peel' to you, don’t fear, you can still do your part. Reducing the commute your fresh produce has to make, from the field to your plate, is one of the most effective ways to minimise that carbon footprint. It also rhymes. So make a point of buying local produce. We are lucky here in New Zealand that most urban centres are just a family card ride from rural locales. Not to mention, the numerous farmers markets, popping up in nearly every town centre on the weekend. Why not make a day of it?
Now if you really want to double down and feel the moral superiority of every sustainable influencer, you should be consuming organic, local produce. In large scale food production, noxious pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers are added, en-masse, to your "fresh" produce. From soil degradation, fresh water contamination and insect annihilation, there are numerous studies which clearly show how these practices negatively impact our environment. Instead, organic farming puts an emphasis on high-nutrient soil, which yields more nutritious produce while creating habitats for bugs and insects. The aim is to work with mother nature and increase levels of biodiversity, rather than destroy it for short term gains. We all know that organic farming is highly sustainable, nutritious and delicious, so why not try it?