Greens for Good
Good News Item #1: We’ve been demanding more fresh produce and buying less processed food, to the extent food manufacturers and supermarkets are sitting up and taking notice.
This is a happy, healthy trend I’d like to keep going. The question is, wil it be sustainable with rising food costs? We shouldn’t have to choose budget over health. This brings us to Good News Item #2: The national nonprofit Environmental Working Group has just released Good Food on a Tight Budget. This free downloadable shopping guide helps you fill your shopping basket and plate with foods that pack the most nutrition for the lowest cost and are clean and green in the bargain.
Speaking of green, that’s what many of the good food values are — leafy greens from spinach to kale. They’re cheapest and most abundant now, in season, when they come straight to you from your garden, community supported agriculture program or farmers market. They’re so fresh, so vibrant, so lovely, so healthy, so cheap. You harvest them or purchase them in a green rapture. And then you discover how much room they take up in your refrigerator. You will do something with them. Tomorrow. In the meantime, you take something else out of the fridge, the greens get shoved back. As the days progress, the greens are eclipsed from view and begin their slow descent into decay. By the time you reclaim them, they are not green but black, slimy and limp, and the thing you wind up doing is throwing them out.
This is not good news and is wrong on so many levels. Globally, we waste more than a third of our food. In this country, each household tosses almost 500 pounds of it a year. Faced with high food prices and the very real threat of food scarcity, we cannot afford this on any level. A bargain, even a nutritious one, is only a bargain if you know what to do with it. The problem is, when it comes to greens, many people don’t. Which brings us to Good News Item #3: Wild About Greens, providing 125 recipes that make delicious use of your most nutrient-rich food value.
“People really need to know what to do when things are super abundant,” says Wild About Greens‘ vegan author Nava Atlas. “You get a little bunch of arugula at the supermarket and it’s fine. If you belong to a CSA, they want you to take your share. You have tons of arugula. When you give people too much of something they’re not familiar with, they get bewildered.” The VegKitchen blogger still remembers with a frisson of horror what she calls her CSA’s chard explosion of 2009. But that experience “planted a seed — no pun intended,” which comes into full flower with Wild About Greens.
Look, I’m not going to lie — a crippling drought, a struggling economy, we’re being hit with a lot we can’t control. They’re signs offering us the opportunity to change. We have the power to help the environment, the economy and ourselves by choosing greens over meat. EWG’s Good Food on a Tight Budget and Wild About Greens help keep a good food thing going. So can we. It’s a green conspiracy for good we can all be part of.
- Link to Nava’s Pasta with Greens, Chickpeas, and Olives.
- See more of Ellen’s Meatless Monday Musings on VegKitchen.