Hello folks, starting from today we are presenting a new series, about ecological eating! The topic is quite important to both of us, as you might have noticed. We have tried a couple of things over the last few years to eat healthier and more eco-friendly in Leipzig and Stockholm. This is why we want to publish a little series of articles over the next weeks in which we will share our experiences. Here is, for a start, a little overview of what you can expect. So to say, a teaser for the coming weeks...
The way to living eco-friendly is through your stomach: Around one third of the ecological footprint of the Germans is due to nutrition. Other than choosing a power supplier or buying a car, consuming food is an everyday choice: We have to decide every day anew which groceries to buy or what to order in the restaurant. Eat here or take away? The organic veggies packed in plastic or the conventional ones without packaging? Are these fruit still in season or were they imported from the other side of the globe? How much water was used to produce this food? What did the animal feed on? Even though the apples are regional, they were probably in cold storage over months. You can continue this list for a while.
And quickly you get the feeling that you actually cannot make the "right" decision at all. Or, that you'd have to spend an incredible amount of money to do so. Often, I feel overwhelmed by this huge number of alternatives which all have disadvantages which you have to weigh against each other. I find it understandable that many people are intimidated by this problem and that they might make the easy and maybe not very eco-friendly decision.
But there are some alternatives to "normal" food consumption and we have already tried a couple of them. Now we would like to share our experiences and maybe get some suggestions and opinions from you! Some of the approaches we will present to you are not expensive at all, some even free of cost. Others however mean spending more money for ecological consumption than you might be used from regular grocery stores. However, everyone can probably find a compromise with which they can live well, with respect to both ethical and financial considerations.
In Indonesia, hundreds of thousands of hectares of rain forest (one hectare is more then two acres, but we're sticking to the metric system over here) are burned down illegally every year. The reason are palm oil plantations. To make more space for growing palm oil and acacia (for paper production), people set fire to the forest illegally. The huge smoke plumes can be seen from space with MODIS-Instrument on NASA's Terra satellite. In Germany, you find palm oil in many products, e.g. in soap, margarine, bread spreads, sweets and cosmetics. It is also mixed into fuel. The WWF recently published a good article [German] concerning palm oil boycott in connection with the criticism of Nutella. Their conclusion: We all consume palm oil, everyday. Boycotting certain brands such as Ferrero won't make a difference. We as consumers should rather take care to buy fresh products instead of processed food, less sweets and more regional.
And this is exactly what the articles in this series will be about: Ways to buy fresh, regional and tasty foods, without having to worry about air pollution in Indonesia and dying orangutans.
Community-supported agriculture (CSA)
In Leipzig, there are several of these projects (Solidarische Landwirtschaft, SoLaWi), where a group of people teams up to grow ecological veggies and/or fruit. One or more gardeners have the main responsibility for growing the food, and are supported by the other group members. Members e.g. help to harvest the food and distribute it or join for an afternoon of labor. The produce is split equally between all members. The group finances the gardeners' wages and the costs of growing the veggies. The price for membership is usually between €60 and €100 per month, depending on the size of the project. What everyone pays in the end is usually flexible: Often some members pay more so that others can get the products at a cheaper price - this is what makes it solidary agriculture.
I think there are several concepts which go into this category. There is the Verbrauchermarkt, the consumers' market, every Saturday near the arena in Leipzig. There, you can buy food at a very cheap price, which would otherwise be thrown away at the grocery stores over the weekend. And Foodsharing is a very neat thing! Some of you might know the Facebook groups, but there is a whole organization with online portal where you can sign up to pick up leftover food from supermarktes and restaurants. Often you have to take more more than you can carry.
We fell in love with Marktschwärmer sometime last summer when we were still living together. Back then, we tried different things from the various products you can get there during summer. Apart from veggies, there are also dairy products, honey, mustard, bread and rolls, as well as other products which you might not find in regular grocery stores - vegan fudge or wild boar liver sausage, anyone?
And while you're ordering, don't forget to try the goat cream cheese, it's amazing!
The prices are moderate, but you can be assured to receive products from your region with the shortest possible transport route. Plus, you can decide on a weekly basis, what and how much you want to order.
I invite you to look forward to many exciting and tasty excursions to healthy and eco-friendly projects in Leipzig and Stockholm! We will update the links in this article as we go, when new posts have been added.
All the best from Roxi und Resi ♥
The pictures in this post were taken by us, Pablo García Saldaña and Toa Heftiba on Unsplash and NASA. Informations are partly taken from "Die Menschheit schafft sich ab" by Harald Lesch and Klaus Kamphausen.