Year for a Planet is a personal challenge to be a better human for the planet for a whole year. This year, 2017, is where I deal with my food choices.
It’s almost the end of the year, and while the progress I’ve had in this project feels incredible, here is another level of sustainable eating I want to achieve: growing my own food.
While it is difficult to be an urban farmer in particularly congested cities, I’d like to think each product I end up growing myself and not buying—no matter how small— is a kick in the nuts of capitalism. To be as self-sustaining as possible is empowering, and to cook something that does not have a logo, Instagram handle or Facebook page is nothing short of delicious. In the future, I can see myself being one of those old bohemian ladies who runs an apothecary at home and talks to her plants and gives them names.
I’d like to be realistic about what I can grow because I don’t wish to eat anything incubated in urban pollution. Despite the simplicity of my eating habits now, there are still many products I would rather leave to experts and organic farmers. And so have chosen a few things I can grow indoors.
1. Herbs and spices – One of the game changers in this project is the fact that I learned to cook with spices, which easily turns any potentially bland dish into something delicious. Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, and everything else all have medicinal benefits and smell great.
2. Sweet potatoes – Hallelujah, sweet potatoes can be grown in a bucket! And so what I lack in space, a pail can make up for.
3. Aloe vera – I grew up with aloe vera in the garden and my mom used to apply the gel on my scalp for my hair to grow thick and long. Aloe vera has a lot of cosmetic and dietary uses, and it’s also really easy to grow. I don’t usually eat it but it’s a great hair mask.
4. Greens – Who hasn’t seen those viral videos of people regrowing lettuce leaves from the stem? I think having a ready head of lettuce (or onions) in your windowsill means you have no excuse not to eat veggies.
It’s Christmas Eve, and as I look at all the unhealthy food in the house (obviously not mine), I can’t help but think that people automatically give family, friends, and colleagues overly packaged and processed food as an apology for all the things we haven’t said or done but should have. So I say let’s eat in a way that will help us live our lives to the fullest with zero regrets. Happy Holidays, everyone!