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Sukkot and Eco-Friendly Eating

Sukkot, the harvest holiday that takes place  on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, marks the end of the agricultural year.  Jews give thanks for the bounty of the Earth.  We commemorate the holiday by decorating our sukkah with fruits, vegetables and harvest items.  We shake the lulov and the etrog to connect ourselves to the Earth as we eat and spend time outside.

It is fitting during the traditionally agricultural holiday of Sukkot to think about our food choices.  Here are a few ways we can be more eco-friendly in our eating and food purchasing habits:

  • Buy local:  Plan to buy as many fruits and vegetables as possible from local sources.  Most area farmer’s markets stay open weekly until late October. You also can find monthly indoor winter farmer’s markets and locally grown foods in conventional supermarkets. By buying locally and learning to eat what is in season, you will be supporting foods grown close to home.  Locally grown food is healthier and has better nutritional content than food flown in from hundreds of miles away.  You also will reduce your carbon footprint and support the local economy.
  • Buy organic:  Traditionally grown vegetables likely contain pesticides that are harmful to your health and to the environment.  Organic vegetables both taste better and are better for you, while helping the planet.
  • Eat less meat:  It takes 100 pounds of grain feed to produce a pound of meat.  Less meat eating allows more soil to be used for plant-based foods while causing less water and soil contamination.  It’s simply more ecological.
  • Look for eco-friendly restaurants when dining out:  When you do eat out, plan to make sure that the restaurant you choose has earth-friendly practices,  such as buying food from local growers and composting and recycling as much as possible.  In the St. Louis area, look for restaurants designated as members of the Green Dining Alliance. Find out more at https://greendiningalliance.org

Chag Sameach  and happy eco-friendly eating!

 

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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