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Shopping Seasonal in Colorado For Sustainability

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Shopping and growing seasonal in Colorado for sustainability is easier now than ever! While this is written for Coloradoans in mind, these principles can be applied anywhere.
Reduce your carbon footprint by growing, foraging, joining a CSA, or try out zero waste grocery shopping.
By eating seasonally, locally, and consuming less processed food you are helping Colorado stay clean. Or where ever in the world you are! The closer your food is grown to you, the less environmental footprint it leaves. Where does that leave you?

Grow Your Own Food

The most sustainable option is to grow/forage more of your food. Let the superfood dandelion greens grow and try them in some curry, or harvest the flowers to make dandelion nectar. Instead of growing purely decorative flowers try growing flowering herbs like lavender, echinacea, mint, chives, or basil. Most fruits and vegetables flower and can be a beautiful addition to your garden. Apple trees, kiwi vines, raspberry bushes all create beautiful flowers- that turns into food for you.
Without having to buy any seeds you can get started with some veggie scraps you have in your refrigerator right now. Green onion, cabbage, and lettuce are all pretty simple to regrow from scraps!

If you live in a tiny apartment you could try growing some fresh herbs on a window sill using such scraps. Another option for those with more space is a tomato plant on your balcony. If you want to try to grow more, most cities and neighborhoods have a community garden space. There you can rent out a plot and get growing!

Echinacea growing in a lush green space
Echinacea is a perianal herb that helps boost the immune system that is wonderful in tea

Also, anyone lucky enough to have a lawn can grow it- give it a shot when you’re ready!

You could even build a few raised garden beds or buy large pots to grow it. Another choice is to add compost or a soil enricher to your existing dirt and mix it up. A neighbor of mine added compost to his soil in his front lawn, tore out the grass, and mixed the dirt up. Now his entire front lawn is a vegetable garden!

Try to grow fruits or vegetables that you know you can preserve. Tomatoes are a great vegetable to start since you can easily can it for sauces, salsas, and paste. I love growing apples since I’ll preserve my apples in cinnamon sugar. We like to make a boatload of pies at my house to give to neighbors. I also grow lots of herbs that I’ll dry for homemade tea throughout the winter. This also makes a great gift!

Foraging is another fun choice! I mentioned foraging for dandelion greens earlier, but there are other great foods to be found. Black walnuts, thimble berries, mushrooms, are all found through Colorado.

Join A CSA

But… If you don’t have time, energy, space, or knowledge– gardening can be tough. The next best thing is to eat locally and seasonally is to join a CSA.
Some will wonder what the heck a CSA is! Simply put, it’s Community Sponsored Agriculture. You buy a share in a local farm and they will either weekly or biweekly give you your share of produce!
Be warned, they tend to sell out early- to get a summer share you’ll want to start searching for one in Spring. If it’s the middle of Summer now, you’ll want to start looking for a fall/winter share.

The main perk of getting a farm share is if they are having a particularly bountiful year you get extra produce! That being said, you can get less during rougher years. Considering how much it helps the farmer directly, this is a fantastic option to really support your local community!

However, be warned- many CSA’s still use plastic for their produce.
Be sure to be in contact with your CSA organizer to request a plastic free produce box.
Plastic never fully decomposes!
It breaks down into microplastics that are toxic to humans and other species of animals, and pollutes our water and land.

“Everyday, we inhale, ingest, and touch plastic particles and plastic’s chemical additives that are toxic to human health—through the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the toys, packaging, and clothes we use”, says David Azoulay of Center for International Environment Law.

The processes of recycling plastic creates all kinds of pollution poisoning our air and creating toxic runoffs (think of the fumes when they remelt or burn the plastic). The most eco friendly thing to do is try to avoid plastic as much as you can regardless if it is recyclable.
To learn more check out the documentary Before the Flood– it will open your eyes to how toxic plastic and plastic recycling is.

Try A Farmers Market Produce Box

If you missed your window of opportunity on joining a CSA, no worries! You can still buy direct from local farmers by buying a farmers market produce box. Since Covid-19 many farmers markets have a produce box that they will deliver to you and can even be picked up curbside.
When we get to the point where open markets are safe, going to a farmers market in person is another great option! Farmers markets are a great way to meet the people who grow your food. Then you can ask about the produce and see what’s bountiful! There’s often live music and all kinds of small businesses that gather together. It’s a great way to meet more of your local community!

What To Expect In your Produce Box

Fresh vegetables in parchment paper. Bright green kale piles on fresh basil and brussel sprouts, nuzzled next to oyster mushrooms and a bright red tomato. Watercress hugs the tomato and spills over watermelon and Collard Greens. Butternut squash lays slightly over the collard greens with a jar of white skordila below. 
This is a great example of foods that are seasonal in Colorado
Late June produce box with some extras like Pickled Mushrooms, Skordlia, and Focaccia Bread (Wrapped in compostable parchment paper)

With buying a CSA or Farmers Market Produce Box you will get various vegetables that change throughout the season. Earlier in the season in June you’ll get more greens and cruciferous veggies, so much kale, lettuce, and beets! Then as it becomes July you’ll still have beets and broccoli, cucumbers, turnips, and Kohlrabi. Later into the month leading into August you’ll start to get some peppers, tomatoes, onions, cauliflower. Once August arrives you’ll get more squashes, eggplant, and all the other veggies that I listed above (but less greens).

The biggest difference to eating seasonal produce is that what you get each week changing depending on the weather or season. It is a great way to try new vegetables and new recipes!

While it is best to get a produce box or CSA there are options to order individual vegetables from some farmers markets. This option is typically more expensive but the trade off is you get to pick out what vegetables you want. It pays off to be brave and try out new veggies that grow well in your area by helping you save money!

Zero Waste Grocery Delivery in Denver

If you are in the Denver Metro like me, consider trying out Infinity Goods‘ Produce Box!
I started buying my groceries from Infinity Goods because they are a completely zero waste grocery delivery service- they deliver their produce in an adorable little wooden crate, filled with glass jars for your bulk, and fabric bags for your fresh veggies. It is a great way to be zero waste during the Covid 19 outbreak- which has been tough so far.
This is why I reached out to work with them to help get you a discount of 10% off your first order if you use the code: WildVeganFlower at checkout! I’m especially excited about it.
*Know that I reached out to them because I fully love what they do and support their mission of making a minimal waste lifestyle more attainable. I’m really selective with who I partner with!*

Here are some tasty recipes I made with my seasonal produce box….

A veggie burger with pickles, lettuce, tomato, and grilled onions on a whole wheat bun is sitting next to a pile of orange kohlrabi golden beet slaw with roasted potatoes behind.
Kohlrabi Golden Beet Slaw from July produce to pair with a veggie burger from Somebody People
A sandwich wrapped in parchment paper being held in front of flowers. The sandwich is layered with vegetables in colors ranging from purple, red, orange, green and white
A seasonal and fresh rainbow veggie sandwich from my July produce box.
It has layers of Cucumber, Red Lettuce, Beet Greens, Kohlrabi Golden Beet Slaw, Roma Tomato, Red Pepper, Red Onion, and Oyster Mushrooms
A vegetable pizza on a wooden cutting board
This Italian Veggie Pizza uses fresh and local veggies from the Somebody People Produce Box in Denver. With slices of Fairy Tale Eggplant, Roma Tomato, Red Onion, Oyster Mushrooms, Garlic, and Fresh Basil. All these veggies are in season in Colorado in July!
A cutting board filled with brightly colored chopped vegetables
All these veggies are chopped up and ready to be sauteed and cooking into a summer soup! All using seasonal and local produce grown in Colorado. The butternut squash with the sweet potato made the soup sweet, nutty, and packed with flavor

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By on July 29th, 2020

About Jessica Flowers

Jess Flowers is a multimedia specialist who creates vegan recipes using local and wild ingredients. Being plant based for over a decade, it is her mission to share delicious recipes that are made without animal products!

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