Green Your Holiday Meals

Ciera Holzenthal / Flickr

Americans spend billions celebrating Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year's Eve. Wouldn’t you like that money to go back into your local economy? Here’s how you can buy locally, save some time, and give some love back to the environment during the holidays.

Grow and Bake from Scratch. Start an all-season garden in your yard. Produce like sweet potatoes, rhubarb, and pumpkins are in season from late-fall to early-winter in most of the country. Check out these organic pumpkin pie and rhubarb pie recipes. They're tasty, healthy and fun for the whole family to prep and bake.

Shop at a Winter Farmer's Market
. The growing popularity of winter farmer's markets means that much of your holiday meal can be found locally and in season. Buying locally not only puts money back into your region’s economy, but it also reduces your carbon footprint because the food doesn't have as far to travel. Use the USDA's national farmer’s market directory to find a market near you.

Look at Labels. If you’re shopping at a regular grocery store, look for stickers and signage that tell you where your produce is from - and if it's organic - before you buy. 

Get an Organic Turkey. Sadly, almost all turkeys in America are raised on factory farms under crowded conditions that involve overfeeding with the aim of producing larger birds, faster. By contrast, an organic turkey is one that is raised humanely without antibiotics. Check out LocalHarvest to find an organic turkey farm near you or consider purchasing a heritage breed.

...Or Go Vegetarian. Thanksgiving feasts are always an option, and we’re not just talking tofurkey – check out these delicious vegetarian menus from Gourmet

Choose Green Spirits. A growing number of breweries and wineries are adhering to organic, environmentally-conscious practices and are working toward operating with 100% sustainable energy. Many parts of the country have local wineries that produce delicious, organic products each season. If local varieties aren't available to you, check out this green wine guide to help you make some tasty, healthy picks.

Have your own ideas for going green during the holidays? Share your tips with us in the comments section below.

Go back to the Holiday Green Guide main page




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Bill Burke

Don't forget -- a person can harvest their very own free range, organic wild native turkey in most states. They are excellent table fare and are very local with no human interactions needed except a fair chase environment.

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