Caroline’s Column: a Sustainable Thanksgiving

By: Caroline Roethlisberger

Thanksgiving break is approaching, and I’ve been wondering what I’m going to eat while the rest of my family devours our Thanksgiving turkey and holiday ham. Traditionally, most of our meal contains some form of animal product. Even the mashed potatoes are mixed with butter and the green bean casserole has some sort of dairy additive. So, I’ve been doing some research for some recipes that I’m going to try out this year.

During my research, I found a vegan recipe website that had an assortment of vegan appetizers, main courses, desserts and drinks perfect for Thanksgiving. They even had a vegan version of the classic green bean casserole that graces my family’s Thanksgiving table each year. I plan on trying a few of them for myself.

Though I’m committed to my veganism, my family will be continuing our meat-focussed Thanksgiving traditions. However, they, too, can participate in taking environmentally-friendly actions during the holidays. The easiest way to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle through food without overhauling your current diet, in my opinion, is simply buying local.

By purchasing a locally raised turkey rather than a industrially, mass produced turkey limits your effect on the environment in small yet impactful ways. The shorter shipping distances reduces pollution and fuel usage, and locally produced, grass-fed animals often experience more humane treatment during their life. Here, in Oxford, the MOON Co-Op takes pre-orders for local Thanksgiving turkeys; however, orders for this year have already closed. Make sure you read the packaging labels to find out where and how your meat was produced. Besides meat, consider buying locally grown, in-season fruits and vegetables. Check out the Seasonal Food Guide to find specific in-season produce near you. Currently, pumpkins, squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and apples are some of my favorite fall produce that can be found at many local grocers in the Midwest. For those staying in Oxford over the holidays, the MOON Co-Op also offers an assortment of local produce at one convenient spot!

While it might be difficult to convince your entire family to commit to an entirely vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner, the consideration of where your food comes from is a simple and easy contribution to the broader pursuit of a green and sustainable lifestyle that even the meat-eaters can participate in.

Image via Pixabay.

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