Want to reduce your carbon footprint? Here’s how.
This article is cross-posted from Davis Enterprise
The message to eat healthy, eat local, reduce waste and lower our carbon footprint is widespread now. But for most households, it is easier said than done.
How do we really make changes in our everyday food and cleaning habits, especially when we don’t actually know how to substitute new ways?
The Demonstration Room at the Cool Davis Festival on Sunday, Oct. 16, at the Veterans’ Memorial Center will show visitors how to lighten the impact of our daily living. The 15-minute workshops will offer direct instruction for making green cleaning supplies, cooking with vegetables, making personal beauty products, canning and concocting a seasonal smoothie. Visitors will enjoy tastes and take home resources and samples.
Lisa Baker will offer a few of her most popular green cleaning items: glass cleaner and soft scrub for sinks. Baker has experimented over the years, creating recipes that work wonders and yet are harmless to the environment.
“The products I’m demonstrating lower our carbon footprint,” she said. “They are not petroleum-based, the ingredients are readily found in most homes and already have other uses so that driving trips are minimized and they are not harmful to our waterways.”
“On the American table, the food not eaten and thrown into the garbage every day amounts to about a 1,400-calorie meal and, according to the USDA, the average household wastes about $600 a year in food.”
Meanwhile, personal chef Debra Chase of Pheasant Hollow Farm will address beet tops and broccoli stalks, knowing that many of us simply don’t know how to make full use of the entire vegetable. After this workshop, she promises the vegetables we purchase will be unwasted, uncooked and unplugged.
“On the American table, the food not eaten and thrown into the garbage every day amounts to about a 1,400-calorie meal and, according to the USDA, the average household wastes about $600 a year in food,” Chase said.
“All that food wasted and rotting in landfills contributes to global warming because it produces methane. Wet food waste is also a very real threat to groundwater and stream pollution in a large storm.
“Learning to reduce our waste from the kitchen to the table can not only reduce our carbon output, but can also reduce the amount of money we spend at the grocery store,” she said.
The recipes and techniques Chase will present at the festival will offer a different perspective on how we create our daily meals.
“Learning to reduce our waste from the kitchen to the table can not only reduce our carbon output, but can also reduce the amount of money we spend at the grocery store”
Baker’s expertise extends also into personal beauty care products. For the festival she has chosen to teach a bath fizzie — her son’s favorite — and an oatmeal almond exfoliating cleaner.
Many folks who try to reduce their carbon footprint turn to vegetable and fruit gardening to raise some of their own food. Inevitably, this leads to food preservation questions so we can enjoy our bountiful fruits and vegetables year-round.
Dennis Zanchi teaches two-hour canning workshops for the Davis Food Co-op. He says his motivation for canning is “knowing where the food comes from (usually the Farmers Market), when it was prepared, and exactly what goes into each jar, from green beans to pie filling.”
For the festival, he will provide just 20 minutes of canning techniques, but he’ll linger afterwards. Guests are welcome to bring questions, and if inspired, to sign up for classes at the Co-op.
Finally, Flatland Food Collective, a new student organization at UC Davis working toward a more sustainable food system, will demonstrate making a nutritious, seasonal smoothie made with a pedal-powered blender to show the importance of buying local, seasonally appropriate produce and cooking with a minimal carbon footprint.
Additionally, the demonstration room hosts a useful exhibit on “How to Hold a Zero-Waste Event” and features a display on the successful commercial food scrap compost pilot program that Davis Waste Removal plans to extend.
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Cool Davis is a coalition of citizens, the City of Davis, and community organizations working to empower our community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
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