Freddie Krueger is nothing short of terrifying, but his scariness pales in comparison to the horrific havoc our conventional food system is wreaking on our environment and our health. From contaminating our ground water with pesticides to generating manure pools and breeding foodborne illness, factory farms are a year-round nightmare. Care to opt out? Celebrate Halloween with sustainable food choices, from your pumpkin to your party. Here are five ways to do it.
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Hit Up the Pumpkin Patch
Sure, you could stop at Trader Joe’s and pick up a pumpkin. But where’s the fun in that? Take your kids to a local pumpkin patch and not only will you be supporting locally grown produce, but your kids will also have a chance to learn more about how food is harvested. After tromping in the fields, they’ll pick out a pumpkin and likely meet the farmer who grew it.
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There’s nothing scarier than putting genetically modified foods in our bodies when we still don’t know the long-term health risks. When ghosts and ghouls ring your doorbell this year, spread the eco-friendly Halloween love by handing out organic candies. Check out TakePart’s list of GMO-free candies for ideas.
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Buy Local Gourds
If a trip to the pumpkin patch isn’t in the cards, stop by your local farmers market for your jack-o-lantern candidate. Buying local is more environmentally friendly than purchasing from a corporation, and it helps local farmers to boot. If you’re thinking of baking pumpkin treats, you can also pick up a couple of smaller pie pumpkins at the market. (Find out the difference between pie and carving pumpkins here.) Want to go super local? Next year, consider growing your own!
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Nose-to-tail cooking is big in the slow food movement. It minimizes waste, honors the animals we eat, and opens up new possibilities for what we put on our plates. But veggies are also energy intensive to grow, from the farmworkers who plant and harvest them to the resources required to make them thrive. Bring your jack-o-lantern into the slow food fold by extending the use of your pumpkin. After you carve, put the seeds to good use! You can go the old-school route and simply salt, butter, and bake them, or you can try one of Martha Stewart’s out-of-the-box recipes. Grilled chicken with pumpkin seed sauce? Say no more.
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Planning a party for Halloween? Stick to brews that are sustainable. From Olympia, Washington’s Fish Brewing Company to Brooklyn Brewery in the Big Apple, there are a host of beers available. Check out TakePart’s “Beers That Will Make You Feel Really Good” list for ideas.
A sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, Megan likes writing about food almost as much as eating it. If you don't want to know what's in your fruit/milk/meat, don't invite her to lunch. @babybokchoy