In the past year, our city of Gainesville has implemented a ban of plastic straws and is working on extending the ban to all single-use plastic. This is part of the zero-waste movement that’s been sweeping the nation. People are realizing that certain steps should to be taken in order to reduce our lasting impact on the environment.
One way that you can start living greener is to practice sustainable shopping! While there are many ways to include sustainable shopping in your everyday life, here at Ward’s, we are focused on thinking sustainably when shopping at the grocery store!
What is Sustainable Shopping
Sustainable shopping can come in many different forms. With the introduction of mass production, consumers and producers alike are focused solely on supply and demand. They make and sell products as cost-efficiently as possible, with little regard to the environmental consequences. This leads to unsustainable habits such as factory farming, soil degradation, deforestation, and more.
While these bad practices may seem impossible for the local consumer to change, that isn’t the case. Taking active steps towards sustainability is as easy as checking the labels of your food. Below, we show you exactly what to look out for so you can be a sustainable shopper.
How to Grocery Shop Sustainably
What Labels to Look for
Becoming a sustainable grocery shopper can be as easy as checking labels. We listed out some important labels to look out for the next time you go shopping. By selecting these certified sustainable foods, you send a positive message out to the world that sustainability matters to you.
Meat and Dairy – When shopping for your meat and dairy products, look to see if the meat was ‘pasture-raised’. What this means is that the animal was fed a ‘sizeable’ portion of their food from organic grass. Unless explicitly said, you can only assume it’s 100% grass-fed if it says so on the label.
Fish – There are two main labels to look for when shopping for fish, MSC and ASC. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “MSC label comes from sustainably-managed fisheries that ensure fish are caught at levels that allow populations and surrounding ecosystems to remain healthy” and “ASC certifies that farms produce seafood in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible.”
Produce– Overall, adding more produce to your diet is healthier and more sustainable. We also encourage you to buy seasonally and locally to reduce your carbon footprint. At Ward’s, we partner with over 300 local vendors and farmers, creating a positive chain of sustainability right here in Gainesville!
Packaged foods – While we encourage you to reduce buying packaged foods, we understand that it’s not always possible. You should try to avoid products with high fructose corn syrup and palm oil, as both have a severe negative impact on the environment.
Additionally, another way you can practice sustainable shopping is by shopping locally. By shopping locally you are reducing the carbon footprint of transportation. Products not grown locally are shipped from all over the world, which requires more fuel.
Also, it is important to mix up your diet. Monocropping is an agricultural practice that grows a single crop year after year, which in turn depletes nutrients in the soil. This practice doesn’t allow us or the ecosystem the diversity it needs to remain sustainable. By diversifying your produce selection you are making an impact in the demand of certain produce, creating a positive influence in sustainable agriculture. So, this week instead of picking up the same head of broccoli, try a new recipe with zucchini instead!
Lastly, according to the US Department of Agriculture, “30% of food is wasted”. By simply sticking to your grocery list and reducing your waste, you can work towards becoming a sustainable shopper.
Practice Sustainable Grocery Shopping at Ward’s
At Ward’s, we make sustainable grocery shopping easy! Try implementing these habits into your everyday grocery routine. Adopting these small changes creates a positive influence on your family, community, and ultimately the world we live in. Make Ward’s Supermarket your choice sustainable grocery store.