Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Ideas for the Holidays
Skip (some of) the meat. Raising conventional livestock requires large amounts of fuel, pesticides and fertilizers, making the process a major contributor to greenhouse gases. You don’t have to make your holiday meal vegetarian, but maybe make ones that feature smaller amounts of meat as a seasoning.
Drink local. Consider getting wine from a local, organic winery, with less pesticide intensive methods. The Hudson Valley is getting quite a reputation! Or, support our nation’s growing craft brewing industry by picking up beer from a local brewery.
Dust off the china and glasses. One of the biggest generators of waste at holiday parties is the use of disposable cups and silverware. Though it’s easier to throw everything away, you’ll find that with a couple volunteers to help wash dishes or load the dishwasher, everything will be rinsed and dried in no time flat.
Organize the leftovers. Once the meal is finished, encourage guests to dispose of their scraps in a compost collection. Leftover should be packed or frozen and used for future meals. If there is too much for you to handle, the food should be redistributed for guests to take home. It’s a great way to reuse the take-out Chinese food containers.
Give gifts that grow and inspire. Consider spreading the magic of real food culture through a hands-on cheesemaking kit or a homebrewing kit. Or share your favorite cookbook of culinary fundamentals. A seasonal produce calendar can be a fun reminder of what to anticipate next year at the farmers markets. Seed packets are a cheap and creative way to help develop a green thumb.
Use wrapping “paper” that lasts. Try using reusable tote bags or light scarves. Reuse old maps, the comic pages from newspapers, and sheet music. If you do have a heap of discarded wrapping paper at the end of the night, be sure to recycle it, along with any cans and bottles.