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    Posted February 27, 2014 by
    powell river, British Columbia
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Do you eat ethically?

    Eating Ethically for the next generation

    The first step in our ethical food journey is a step that we are always going back over: Read, get educated, know the issues, know your source.

    We have started reducing our carbon footprint by growing as much of our own foods as we can, eating foods that are in season, and choosing local over internationally-sourced when it's available.

    In the garden, our oldest (4yrs old) is involved in every step. She plants, transplants, waters and fertilizes right next to mom and dad. At harvest time, she's right there to pick (and eat) for much longer than you think a young child would have patience for.

    So what happens after the table? To us, being an ethical eater is a bit larger scale..it's about being an ethical consumer in general. Choosing foods that don't come in a tonne of packaging means that there's less to process in the recycling center (very little makes it into the garbage pail) and less environmental damage as a consequence of our diet. Food that isn't eaten is composted to be used in the garden a few years down the line and good food that won't be eaten by us is donated or somehow passed along to another person in need.

    As humans, we are stewards of the environment. The idea that literally tonnes of pesticides-deadly poison- is a commonplace ingredient in conventional food is horrific. To be environmentally responsible, organic is the only solution. And really expensive. So we try and balance budget by choosing non-organics with low impact to the environment and organics where their non-organic counterparts are environmentally detrimental.

    I feel strongly that you can be an ethical eater and still enjoy meat, by making choices to better source. By buying direct from small-scale farms and butchers, we're promoting a market dedicated to ethical farming and stimulating demand for organic, grassfed livestock. Eventually, hunting wild game is going to help round out the deep freeze, but with a young family it just isn't something that we can do right now.

    Issues are always popping up, so the need to stay informed is omnipresent. For example, we use to buy quinoa as a carbon-friendly protein source but have since found out that the north american demand has driven up its price so high that the locals who farm it can no longer afford it for themselves. Now we only buy it as a treat, and have turned to other grains for the larger portion of our diet.

    When you really get into the deep of the issues, it can become really overwhelming, so the final commandment we try and follow is to lighten up and savour everything. Doing one or two little things changes the world for the better, doing more is great too. It's not a competition, it's about contributing to a movement. And every single tiny bit helps.
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