The production and processing of food is one of the biggest drains on the earth's resources. By being a mindful, eco-conscious consumer of food you can make a difference. On World Environment Day, we tell you how you can do that.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters
When you shop
Cut down on the plastic
Let's begin at your supermarket, local grocery store of vegetable vendor. Carry a reusable bag and you're making a big change. All those plastic bags you accumulate and then discard end up choking the planet.
Look for minimal packaging
A kilo of dal wrapped in newspaper and a piece of string may seem so outdated now; but it was a very good thing. Even if you can't go back to that, look for products that are not too heavy on the packaging. Those mega cereal boxes are not a good idea.
Go local, go seasonal
Buy fruits, vegetables, seafood and meat that are grown, caught or reared in your region. Shop for produce that's in season. There's a reason why nature gifts us different foods for different seasons.
Say 'no' to imported foods
Lamb that's travelled from New Zealand and grapes from California may seem utterly exotic. But they leave a huge carbon footprint as they make their journey from their places of origin to distant destinations.
Support eco-friendly shops
Take your custom to shops that sell food products that are made using green, sustainable methods. Lend your support to farmers' markets.
When you eat at home
Try, as far as possible, to eat home-cooked meals. Let your cooking revolve around your traditional foods, with the occasional foray into something foreign or exotic.
Cut down on processed foods
Opening a packet may seem like the most convenient thing to do. Resist. Those foods that come in brightly coloured packaging and are heavily advertised are no good for you. Mass producing them uses up precious resources.
A little time and effort is worth the difference it will make to health of your family and the planet.
Don't buy more than you plan to consume. Be conscious of the kitchen waste you generate. Segregate.
Try and be smart about using fuel, gas and power in the kitchen. A mega-sized fridge uses up more power. Buy one that will fit your needs, not one that you need to impress the neighbours with.
When you dine out
Refuse bottled water
In most restaurants in the mid-budget range and upwards, it's perfectly safe to drink the purified water. This way, you can cut down on plastic.
Frequent 'good' restaurants
Look for restaurants that are proud of using local, seasonal ingredients. Don't be dazzled by the 'foreign' and 'imported' tags.