How to: Have a Sustainable Thanksgiving!

Check out these earth-friendly tips on how to have a sustainable thanksgiving!

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Written by Britini Osmonson, Contributing Writer


For a naturally inspired Thanksgiving table, look no further than your own street or community park: gather fallen leaves and pinecones to use as part of a centerpiece or as placecards. Just be sure to leave any bugs in their natural habitat. These items can be left in direct sun for half an hour on each side to sanitize, if this is a concern.With the holidays fast approaching, retailers are clamoring not only for your gift-giving dollars, but also to blow your holiday decorating budget. Thanksgiving dinner is only hours away and we definitely know the types that go all-out in order to put on a fabulous looking spread.photo-1445586831130-7f00f5eac0f2

Once the food is out with the candles and tablescape just-so, things may look straight out of Martha Stewart magazine. However, in the spirit of thankfulness, we encourage you to do the planet (and your wallet) a favor and repurpose some commonly used items in order to create your own one-of-a-kind holiday home.

Speckled acorn squash and pie pumpkins can serve both as beautiful decorations now and part of a leftovers feast later.

Votives or tea lights in mason jars radiate a warm glow as you gather with loved ones. Add whole cranberries to the jars first and place candles on top for extra decoration. Cranberries can be reused in the stovetop potpourri recipe to follow.

If you need a kids table at your Thanksgiving, cover it with plain brown craft paper and set out crayons or chalk for the little ones to create their masterpieces before and after the meal.

When it comes to the meal itself, choosing local and organic produce will sustain your community farmers. You may even save money as vegetables such as onions, potatoes, and carrots are plentiful during this growing season making them less expensive.

The most nutritious turkey is a pasture-raised turkey. Animals that are consistently fed a diet of grass translate to lean, tender, omega-dense meats. Visiting localharvest.org allows users to enter their zip code and find farms in their area that cater to pasture-raised meats.

Sometimes, the bird is not the word! For those that are choosing a less conventional feast of meatless entrees, mix it up and serve a savory pumpkin lasagna with sage and parmesan.

Any food scraps from preparation can be composted to create rich soil for a future backyard garden or countertop herb planter.

Try making your own cream-of-mushroom soup for green bean casserole. No toxins from the can lining, no chemicals in the recipe, no fuss in the kitchen!

When packing up the leftovers, use glass jars which can double as a handy way for reheating in the microwave if you’re taking them to work. They’re easily portable too and if you’re filling old jars, such as those from marinara sauce or fruit, it won’t be a problem to give them away to guests.

christmas-simmering-stove-top-potpourriTo make a simmering stovetop potpourri combine the peel of one orange, a half cup of fresh cranberries, four cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon of whole cloves, and 3 cups of water in a saucepan on the stove. Simmer on low heat and add water as the mixture gets low. Eat up the orange and enjoy the cozy scent as long as you like!

Remember that every decision you make has an effect; whether it is a positive one or negative is truly up to you and the way you choose to consume resources available. These are just a few suggestions to get the ball rolling on your sustainable living efforts. We hope you have a mindful and joyful Thanksgiving!

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