Zen and the Art of Environmentally Conscious Eating

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Bayard Fenwick
Strategic Consulting

The assembly of an examined (environmental) diet requires great piece of mind. 

There are countless treasure maps and instruction manuals for incorporating sustainability into all aspects of one’s life, but an environmentally conscious diet,  just like a corporate sustainability program, takes a bit of tinkering before it’s properly tuned.  A conscious diet is roughhewn to each individual’s circumstances.  Choosing which foods are “in” and “out” becomes an exercise in self-expression, not to mention self-discipline.  With time, the conscious diet takes on a personality of its own.

The art of getting food from its point of origin to our plate has seen an environmental renaissance as of late, with help from many longtime believers, including gastronomy movements such as SlowFood and Locavore, to name a few.  The breadth of this shift toward sustainable agri/aquaculture varies widely between geographic locations, so don’t beat yourself up if your WindowFarm hasn’t taken root yet, or if you don’t even know what a WindowFarm is. 

Remember, there’s always going to be a more hard lined alternative no matter how orthodox your environmental ethics are.  Lest we forget that eating is a joyous affair, and should be celebrated as an art.  Choosing to eat an environmentally conscious diet (when possible) takes effort.  This effort can empower you, and should be considered a tradeoff for your role as a steward of the environment and supporter of local, independent farmers.  In exchange for those tradeoffs should come piece of mind.

I live in eastern Long Island, home to nutrient rich, salty waters.  Here are a few sustainable forages that contribute to my piece of mind:

  1. Low carbon clamming (little and top necks) – Tools required: clam rake; standup paddle board / kayak; mesh satchel; clam knife; brackish estuary  
  2. Old fashion oyster collecting (any Long Island variety will due) – Tools required: mesh satchel; hammer (sometimes); oyster knife; bay or brackish estuary
  3. Surfcasting for stripers (bass) – Tools required: light-tackle surfcasting rod / salt water fly rod; varying lures / flies; waders; headlamp
  4. Seasonal farmstand(ing) – Tools required: car / bike; cash; culinary flexibility

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