From the beautiful rolling hills of Western Maryland to the Chesapeake Bay and the Coastal Bays of the Eastern Shore, here in the Old Line State we are lucky to have access to very diverse ecosystems. From our cities to farmlands to sandy beaches, we must all work together to preserve our great state and all that it has to offer. The environment we live in can affect our health and quality of life, whether it’s the air we breathe, the water we drink, or the food we eat.
When we hear about changes happening to Maryland’s waterways and coastlines, we might think that those issues are so much bigger than us and our small impact will not matter. The environmental sustainability of Maryland matters, not just for you and your families’ health, but for the future of farming. A healthy Maryland means a healthy place for agriculture industry to thrive.
Here are five practical ways that you can make a difference for our environment each day.
Avoid food waste
Think through your meal planning before purchasing produce. Throwing food in the trash doesn’t just waste money, it is sent to landfills where it rots and produces methane, a greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Composting at home is the best way to avoid this problem. In addition, nearly one-third of produce grown never makes it off the farm because it doesn’t meet strict grocery store standards. Learn more about composting and supporting the ‘ugly’ food movement.
Shop in bulk
Many of our dry pantry staples contain packaging that costs money and natural resources to make, plus they contribute to unnecessary waste. When you can, try to buy these items in bulk. It also saves money! Keep your own glass jars and reusable bags in your car so you are ready to use them when you shop. Here is a list of zero waste stores in Maryland and a co-op directory to search for one near you.
Grow your own or buy local!
Vote with your fork
The food choices you make directly impact the environment. Many of the costs of cheap, processed foods are invisible to us. In addition to a lack of nutrient density, they require large amounts of fossil fuels and are often packaged in plastics with poor recycling rates that never decompose. Buy less processed items and more fresh foods! If you buy meat from a pasture-based, local meat supplier, you are supporting their sustainable practices–as opposed to buying cheaper meat from a concentrated animal feeding operation with a big carbon and water footprint.
Don’t forget to share these tips with a friend!