What we choose to eat and how we prepare it can have profound impacts on the sustainability of our food system. Choosing a plant-rich diet is one of the most impactful solutions in the fight against global warming at a total of 64.8–91.5 gigatons avoided (Project Drawdown). However, a just and sustainable food system should consider more than just greenhouse gas emissions. Stepping away from the view of animals as commodities means moving away from a meat-based diet and not supporting concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs) or other conventionally grown meat. Adding native foods from Indigenous producers to our diets helps support rebuilding Indigenous foodways and increases the amount of native foods grown, which often require fewer resources to grow. Focusing on local and in-season foods strengthens the connections with local farmers, reduces the resource costs of transportation and storage, and resources needed to grow food out of season.
Sean Sherman, also known as The Sioux Chef, has been working for years to revitalize the Indigenous Food Ways and share that knowledge. This is his talk at the 2018 World of Flavors. He talks about the importance of food sovereignty and Indigenous Food Ways for health, ecology, historical, and justice and cautions against cultural appropriation.
- Explore Indigenous foods and purchase them from Indigenous producers. These foods are local and native and as such require less resources to grow and produce. Supporting these farms and suppliers also supports the revitalization of indigenous foodways.
- The Sioux Chef website has a list of Indigenous food producers.
- Adopt a plant-based diet that incorporates more grains, fruits, and vegetables, and less meat.
- Foodprint offers some tips on reducing the meat in your diet.
- Eat local and in-season foods when possible.
- Minnesota Grown has a calendar of when Minnesota produce is in season and at its peak.
- Nourish has a short video on the benefits of eating seasonally as well as a downloadable activity (pdf) to make your own seasonal food wheel.
- Foodprint has an extensive seasonal food database based on information from the Natural Resources Defense Council, USDA, state agriculture extension offices and state departments of agriculture. The database is available as an app or on their website.
Continue to the next section:
- Aleksandrowicz, L., Green, R., Joy, E. J. M., Smith, P., & Haines, A. (2016). The impacts of dietary change on greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use, and health: A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 11(11), e0165797. https://doi.org/10.1371/JOURNAL.PONE.0165797
- Donner, S. D. (2007). Surf or turf: A shift from feed to food cultivation could reduce nutrient flux to the Gulf of Mexico. Global Environmental Change, 17, 105–113. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2006.04.005
- Project Drawdown. (2021). Plant-Rich Diets. Project Drawdown. https://drawdown.org/solutions/plant-rich-diets