Sourcing the Food on Your Plate Responsibly

Ingredient Sourcing by Nyesha Arrington

When ingredient sourcing, it is very important to think about 3 key factors: seasonality, quality, and carbon footprint.


1. Seasonality


Year-round industrially grown non-organic foods often make me question if what I am eating is actually good quality food. Eating with the season provides us with the experience of enjoying mother nature’s beautiful and delicious bounty as intended. Consuming fruits and vegetables directly from the soil is truly a gift, not a replica from a production line. The pivotal moment for me occurred when I purchased non-organic tomatoes from a local grocery store. I placed a few over-ripened tomatoes that were too soft to eat into the dirt in my backyard. I expected them just to decompose but to my surprise, after a few weeks of dirt and sunshine, they grew into 3 huge tomato plants!  That single purchase turned into a gift that keeps giving – for free.

After such a fruitful experience, I aim to eat organic fruits and veggies as much as possible. Imperfections on produce are delightfully unique; bruises, bumps, asymmetrical bodies…don’t let these features deter you. I consider these an encouraging sign that the integrity of the produce has been retained rather than compromised in favor of false flawlessness. Not to mention, you can turn these organic gems into your own prospering plants.

2. Quality

Recipes are only as good as the products you are using. Starting with subpar ingredients will not yield a delicious end result. Often companies may add “fillers” to their products to bulk up the volume and stretch the price of pricey quality food. A key step when ingredient sourcing is reading labels.  Choose products that contain little to no chemicals to allow the natural essence of the ingredients to shine.

3. Carbon Footprint


The best produce is found locally. One of the greatest benefits to eating locally grown produce is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint while supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. Factory farmed fruits and vegetables tend to be grown using practices that yield a less nutrient dense end result.  In addition, those tomatoes in your cart have likely been gassed and traveled in a semi truck for a longer period of time to make it to the produce section. Did you know that food production is responsible for one-quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions? Adding chicken breast or steaks to your grocery list?  Animal proteins have an even higher footprint than plants. This is why I’ve adopted an 80/20 diet: 80 % vegetables, 20 % animal protein. Enjoying meat as a luxury ingredient allows our planet time for regeneration and reduces our carbon footprint.

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