Five Ways to Green Up Your Thanksgiving
Happy Thanksgiving, all!
As we reflect on what we're thankful for, the planet is right up there with friends and family. To show some gratitude towards the planet, here's a few things we're trying out here to make Thanksgiving a little greener.
Image via Peterson Family Farms
The shorter the distance the food travels, the better for the environment it is! Turkeys can be found across the country. The USDA estimated in 2012 that there are roughly 100 million turkeys in US farms at any given time with the most turkeys coming from Wisconsin and North Carolina. When it comes to produce, luckily most of our Thanksgiving favorites, such as sweet potatoes and corn, can be grown just about anywhere.
Add More Veggies
When it comes to deciding what to cook, consider going veggie-heavy, or even veggie-exclusive! Vegetables are much easier to cultivate in an environmentally friendly way than meat is. Most of the wonderful Thanksgiving side dishes we all love so much are already vegetarian, but creating a plant-heavy main course can require a bit more imagination. Luckily, veggie and vegan food producers such as Tofurky and Field Roast have been producing Thanksgiving entrée alternatives for years. If soy or seitan options aren’t really your thing, consider less processed alternatives such as this stuffed acorn squash recipe from Food and Wine.
Consider Staying Local
Like your food, travelling short distances vastly decreases your carbon footprint. AAA projected in 2017 that 50.9 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more away from home for Thanksgiving. We know sometimes travel is unavoidable, so if you have to travel long distances, consider carpooling with some friends and family. Besides, it's always more fun to have someone to recap the trip with on the way home. You can also see this as a fool-proof excuse to getting out of all the holiday festivities you don’t want to go to. “Sorry aunt Edna, I would come to Thanksgiving but I’m saving the planet.” See? Bulletproof.
Ditch the Disposables
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, there may be some temptation to offer paper plates and napkins along with plastic cutlery to avoid having a bunch of dishes to clean after dinner. As we touched on in one of our previous blog posts, single-use plastic goods account for much of the world’s pollution. Not only is using reusable plates, napkins, and utensils better for the environment, they look better too! We have some linen napkins we think you’ll love.
We are down to the wire, however. If getting rid of all disposables is not an option at this point, there are compostable options for plates, platters, and flatware.
Get Creative with Leftovers
Leftovers are as much a Thanksgiving tradition as the initial feast itself and not wasting food is an easy way to help the environment. Before relegating the leftovers to the back of the fridge to be forgotten, consider re-purposing them into new meals altogether. Luckily our friends over at Food52 have you covered! Try some of these Thanksgiving leftover recipes such as Turkey Empanadas or Thanksgiving Jambalaya.
Okay, this has nothing to do with the planet, but beyond the planning and cooking, remember to let yourself relax, hang out with the ones you love, and reflect on the good things. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from everyone here at Lostine!