Sustainable Table: New Year’s Resolution

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MEDFORD, Ore. — If you find yourself making the same resolutions year after year, how about switching things up? In this Sustainable Table, we feature five easy ways to live more sustainably in 2013.

Number 5 on our list: Plant A Garden. A garden can be as simple or as intense as you want it to be. Walking out to the back yard to pick your lettuce and tomatoes won’t leave the carbon footprint that shipping them from South America or even California will. The produce gathered from your garden can sustain you right away and in the months to come, which brings us to…

Number 4: Learn How To Preserve. Just a little knowledge about canning, dehydrating, freezing can help feed your family for months to help get you started master gardeners and food preservers offer classes year round for a small fee. Another class offered at many OSU Extension Offices is seed saving, which in the end will save you money among other benefits. To achieve Number 3: Save Seeds, start by picking the right seeds, heirloom or heritage, but not hybrid.

“Look at the package; if the package does not say hybrid or F1, filliogeneration then you can rest assured that it’s probably not a hybrid. It’s sustainable because you can reproduce it. It keeps going on and on and on,” explains Tal Bankenship, a local seed saver. Bankenship says seed saving is so beneficial because after a few years your seeds will adapt themselves to your soil and your climate, giving you the best possible product.

If digging in the dirt, canning, and seed saving aren’t really your thing, you can still strive for a sustainable table with Number 2: Buying Locally. Augustine Colebrook is a long time CSA member. Community Supported Agriculture programs connect consumers with the local farms which are growing their produce by buying in. You share in the risk and the reward, which includes a box of produce usually every two weeks; Barking Moon Farm in the Applegate even has a winter CSA right now.

“People need to eat, we all need to eat food and so why not give someone sort of a fantastic version of that experience,” Josh Cohen, the Co-Owner of Barking Moon Farm.

Farmers markets have exploded across the country and in Southern Oregon the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market offers a huge variety. You can talk to the farmers and there’s no middle man. Co-ops and even grocery stores carry local produce and locally made goodies.

The easiest thing you can do in your resolution for sustainability is to get involved, get educated and give support. Contact your lawmakers and tell them local food and sustainable living is something you care about. Take classes at your extension office; get a magazine subscription or check out a book at the library.