Nine Things We Can Do to Improve Our Health and Our Food System

Nine Things We Can Do to Improve Our Health and Our Food System

1. Consider signing up for a CSA share. Community Supported Agriculture is a simple way to eat local, support a small farm. Generally, a CSA share can be picked up once a week during the growing season, giving you a box of fresh produce straight from the farm.

Valley Natural Foods is a drop-off point for two. Contact the farm directly.

2. Eat more at home instead of eating out. People consume almost twice as many calories when eating food prepared outside the home. A shared meal at home can replace “eating on the run” with a healthier family and community.

3. Commit to at least one “meatless day” a week. Livestock production is responsible for 20 percent of the greenhouse gases that are part of worldwide global warming, contributing more than all forms of transportation put together. An estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics used in the U.S. are given to animals we eat due to overcrowded “factory farm” conditions.

4. Stop drinking sodas and other sweetened beverages. It’s possible to lose a significant amount of excess weight by replacing one 20-ounce soda a day with a no-calorie beverage, preferably water.

5. Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides. According to the EPA, more than one billion pounds of pesticides are used each year in the United States, which can end up in the food you and your family consume.

6. Tell your schools to stop selling sodas, sports drinks and junk food. Over the last two decades, rates of obesity have tripled in children and adolescents aged 6 to 19 years.  Through an initiative called Smart Choices, seven school districts in Dakota County are assessing school lunches to identify ways to increase access to healthy and appealing foods and reduce access to less healthy foods.

7. Let your congressional representatives know that food safety is important to you. Each year, contaminated food causes millions of illnesses and thousands of deaths in the U.S.

8. Demand job protections for farm workers and food processors, ensuring fair wages and humane conditions. Poverty among farm workers is more than twice that of all wage and salary employees.

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