Ways to Eat Sustainably, Part III

Inconvenient eating for a healthy home and planet. The final of a three-part series.

By Allan Reetz

At the time of this writing, Covid-19 has put most travel on hold. But, when distant travel becomes safe again, here are a few ways to eat sustainably far from home:

Design your travel/vacation with a plan to eat sustainably.

  • Include web searches for restaurants specializing in local farm products.
  • Search for farmers markets where you’re going. If need be, arrive a day early or stay a day longer to enjoy the local market. Shopping with the locals is one of the great joys of eating sustainably.
  • When traveling, eat with the seasons of the region. Ask what is local and what is in season.
  • If your lodging hosts are arranging for your food, let them know of your strong preference for foods from small farms and producers.

On your home turf, plan your food consumption more carefully. Compost your food waste. If you don’t want to compost at home, find a farmer with pigs or chickens. You might have a Chuck Wooster just down the road from you.

And a final suggestion: If you want to eat more sustainably, add more inconvenience to your shopping.

  • By this I mean, don’t buy everything when at your favorite food co-op, even if it’s produce from a local farmer. Make the extra trip to the local farmstand or the farmers market and buy there. The farmer gets 100 cents on the dollar that way.
  • Support local food hubs and markets that are critical to food security in our region. Last fall on a trip to Boston, I intentionally added 45 minutes to the trip to visit the Sweet Beet Market and Kearsage Food Hub in Bradford, New Hampshire. This non-profit business is one of the shining examples of how consumers and producers can collaborate to strengthen the local foodshed, learn, and eat very well in the process.
  • And give your time to volunteer in support of sustainable food, such as participating in a farm-gleaning project after the harvest to help support a local food bank.

When you get used taking actions in support of sustainable food, the effort no longer seems inconvenient, and the results become invaluable.

Eating sustainably can be done in ways that are fair and healthful to all involved. Please share your ideas with me. I can be reached at areetz@coopfoodstore.com.

Sources and additional reading

The Problem with Fair Trade Coffee






Sustainability of smallholder quinoa production in the Peruvian Andes


Chuck Wooster at Sunrise Farm


Palm Oil





Food Waste


Other important links of interest

National Farmers Union (representing farms of across the spectrum, addressing matters of racial justice, climate change, gender equity {https://nfu.org/?s=gender+identity}, and carbon sequestration {https://nfu.org/?s=carbon+sequestration}). I recommend joining as a citizen member. They are worthy of support.

Neighboring Food Co-op Association (find a Northeast food co-op near you) http://nfca.coop/members/ An excellent resource for consumers and food advocates.

Hanover Co-op Food Stores of NH & VT

https://press.coopfoodstore.coop (News releases and timely information)



Other worthwhile resources

In Cuba, Only Tourists Drink Mojitos




Ceres and Feeding Ourselves Thirsty




Food builds personal health, community, and can help rebuild the planet. We need to make more than an average commitment to learning and deciding the best ways to define sustainable eating and then act on it.

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Allan Reetz is the Co-op's Director of Public and Government Affairs. Contact Allan at areetz at coopfoodstore dot com.