Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. This is a time to promote environmental awareness around the world.
Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities. Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in Earth Day campaigns every year. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species acts, according to the Earth Day Network.
Q: What can we do to eat green on Earth Day?
A: Samantha Walters, Dietetic Intern at Washington Adventist Hospital
There are many ways to participate on Earth Day, and this gives dietitians a unique opportunity to explain the connection of our food choices to the health of our planet. Celebrate Earth Day by eating cleaner, greener, plant-based foods and incorporating strategies that are better for our environment.
- Buy fresh, buy local. Everyone enjoys fresh, local food and spring is a great time for harvest! To buy locally, however, you must take the seasonality of produce into consideration. If you are buying strawberries in January, you can bet they weren’t produced locally. So enjoy the fruits and vegetables of each season as it comes. It may even get you to be more creative in the kitchen basing meals around the seasonal vegetable of the week!
- During the month of April, there are many fruits and vegetables in season, including: apricots, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, butter lettuce, squash, chives, collard greens, corn, fava beans, fennel, green beans, honeydew, limes, mango, lettuce, mushrooms, mustard greens, oranges, peas, pineapple, purple asparagus, radicchio, red leaf lettuce, rhubarb, snow peas, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard, vidalia onions, watercress, and white asparagus.
- For more information on in-season fruits and vegetables, visit: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-spring
- Visit your local farmer’s market for fresh, in-season, local produce! You’ll eat fewer chemicals and it’s better for the environment because it reduces fuel for transporting. Check Local Harvest to find organic food grown near you.
- Eat greener and cleaner: Focus on increasing your consumption of green foods, such as leafy greens, fresh vegetables and fruits in your diet. These are all beneficial to your health, and are free of preservatives.
- Grow your own. Nothing is more local than what grows in your own garden! Whether you’re growing a few herbs on the windowsill of your studio apartment or putting in rows of vegetables in your backyard, cultivating your own food is a great way to cut down on your carbon footprint, reduce pesticides, and encourage a produce-heavy diet, full of easy-to-grow, healthy-to-eat crops like microgreens, tomatoes and herbs.
- For helpful advice on gardening, visit University of Maryland Extension’s “Grow It, Eat It” site: http://extension.umd.edu/growit/basics
Green Earth Day Recipe
This salad combines the peppery bite of arugula with the sweetness of juicy pears and the earthy crunch of walnuts. If you can’t find Bosc pears, Anjou or Starkrimson are also good choices for salads.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 tablespoon minced shallots
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 6 cups baby arugula leaves
- 2 Bosc pears, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add arugula and pears to bowl; toss to coat. Place about 1 1/2 cups salad on each of 4 plates; sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon walnuts.