A nutritious diet, one that is high in plant-based foods, can help alleviate our impact on wildlife and their habitats. Biodiversity is threatened by animal-agricultural activities; livestock production contributes to deforestation, water degradation due to nutrient pollution and ocean dead zones. In fact, research published in the journal Nature found that 62% of species were threatened by agriculture alone. While large-scale changes need to take place to improve agricultural practices, individual changes can go a long way in helping maintain a healthy habitat for local wildlife.
Each one of us has the opportunity to take part in reducing our impact on the earth with every meal. Eating locally sourced vegetables, reducing the amount of meat you consume, and reducing food waste are all easy steps to take that are healthy for us and our planet.
Earth Day 2019 offers a platform for individuals and institutions in Central Virginia to amplify their environmental initiatives and launch new ones, with a focus on promoting sustainable eating and food production. Initiatives to increase awareness surrounding sustainable food production and consumption are already happening throughout Central Virginia. Earth Day Network is calling on you to continue this momentum, initiate new projects and campaigns to raise community awareness, and reduce Central Virginia’s environmental footprint.
Example initiatives your city can consider for Earth Day 2019:
The nonprofit Vegan Action initiated a three-day challenge called Vegan72, for which participating restaurants went vegan for 72 hours to highlight how delicious eating green can be and encourage sustainable eating habits.
During Earth Week 2018, the University of Virginia educated students on how our diets impact climate change. They kicked off the week with a farmers’ market with local produce and continued to highlight plant-based eating by serving plant-based foods in the dining hall.
Local Food Hub, a Charlottesville-based organization, forges close relationships with local farmers and provides infrastructure for the distribution of fresh, environmentally sustainable food that does not harm wildlife habitat. This increases the communities access to local food and brings fresh, local produce to people who would not otherwise have access.
City Schoolyard Garden and Charlottesville City Schools team up every month for the Harvest of the Month: Garden to Table Snack Program. This program teaches kids about local and seasonal vegetables, while giving them a healthy snack in the classroom.