Reduce your Foodprint on Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a holiday where food plays a central role–as a token of appreciation and a gesture of love.

The UNEP’s Food Waste Campaign calls everyone, everywhere in the world to make it a point to create a better, more sustainable celebration with these seven tips:

1. Buy local. Consider cooking for your mom a meal at home instead of going out to a restaurant, and try to buy as many ingredients as possible from local farmers.

A study by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) about the environmental impact of food transportation in California showed that importing food products into the state released nearly 250,000 tons of greenhouse gases–the equivalent amount of pollution caused by roughly 40,000 vehicles. And shipping food from far away also means that it's not as fresh–or tasty–once it reaches consumers.

2. Dine responsibly. If Mom prefers to go out for dinner on her big day, do some research beforehand and find restaurants that follow best practices for sustainability.

One can do a search in order to locate the most environmentally friendly places to eat.

3. Learn something new. Understanding why it’s important to eat locally or to support sustainable operations is as vital as the actions themselves.

Documentaries such as Food, Inc., What’s on Your Plate, and Food Chains can provide lots of quality conversation topics for Mother’s Day dinner.

4. Make a donation. Instead of buying another gift for Mom that she doesn’t need, why not find an organization that supports a food- and agriculture-related issue and make a donation in her name?

5. Help out in the community. The latest U.S. census report shows that 46.2 million people were living in poverty in 2011, and poverty is the leading cause of hunger.

Share a meal with those less fortunate on Mother’s Day by lending a helping hand at a food bank or a soup kitchen.

6. Buy Fair Trade. Common Mother’s Day gifts include chocolate, fresh fruit, coffee, or flowers–all items that can be purchased from fair trade producers which supports smaller producers and farmers who may have a hard time covering their own costs while remaining competitive in the global market.

7. Plant a garden. Planting a vegetable garden at home is not only a fun Mother’s Day activity, but is also an excellent way to make sure that Mom has fresh produce available for the rest of the summer.

It’s also a money-saver–the National Gardening Association estimates that the average return on the investment of a home garden is US$530.

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