Following the success of the Huffington Post-hosted No Impact Week, NRDC's Simple Steps is working with the No Impact Project on a second week of low-carbon living. Food is the focus of this fourth day of the eight-day "week" and if you find shopping at the farmer's market no challenge, take on foraging for your meals instead. "Wildman" Steve Brill leads expeditions through parks in New York City and elsewhere and I recently had a chance to drag myself through quince bushes, peel off the odiferous flesh of ginkgo berries to get to the nut and dine on wild mushrooms, while he regaled us with the odd vocalizations of his "brillophone." Any hardships pale against the unique flavors and rare varieties available outdoors that will never appear on a supermarket shelf.
Building relationships with local organic farmers isn't only a good way to reduce your impact and eat well, you'll also have an opportunity connect to the landscape through the eyes of someone who can point to the subtle changes in climate, moisture and vegetation that shape the flavors of your food. Rob Goodier's video of Ben Shute's Hearty Roots Farm highlights the benefits of joining a Community Supported Agriculture program for both the farmer and his customers, many of whom find their cooking choices expanding as they try greens and other vegetables they may have seen before but never dared to cook. Now is a good time to check for CSA programs near you at Local Harvest, since these will begin their 2010 sign ups early in the year and fill up quickly.
Thanksgiving provides a perfect opportunity to expand your menu with more local and diverse choices. Peter Hoffman, chef owner of New York's Savoy and Back Forty restaurants, shares his recipes and preparation techniques for this year's courses, including a non-traditional risotto with Peconic Bay scallops and Jerusalem artichokes. And if you're eating meat this year, learn more about what to look for in "Organic, Heritage, Sustainable--When Talking Turkey, Does It Matter?"
Meanwhile, NRDC's Anthony Clark and Lindsi Seegmiller have been imposing a No Impact regime at the office and documenting their progress daily, while Solvie Karlstrom imposes the regime on her boyfriend in Seattle. And as NRDC prepares for its 2010 Growing Green Awards, send in your candidates for the chef, activist, educator or farmer (to name just a few possibilities) who you feel most deserves recognition for demonstrating original leadership in the field of sustainable food.