‘Tis the season for resolutions.
Something about the blank calendar page on January 1st is inspirational: the chance for a fresh start, a clean slate, a new leaf. Traditions for bringing in the new year (if you’re a fan of the Gregorian Calendar) may differ widely across the world, but from the United States to Brazil to Poland to India many people ring in the new year by resolving to improve themselves.
If you made a resolution this year, was it to …
If so, you’re in good company.
Getting healthy is consistently the most popular New Year’s resolution in the U.S. – we’re sure it has nothing to do with holiday cookies, tamales, or eggnog. As you take stock of your pantry and head to the market for your first 2018 load of healthy food, what will you choose?
Healthy and cheap produce overflows from the average U.S. supermarket shelf, courtesy of hundreds of thousands of farmworkers. There is more than one advantage to eating healthier in 2018: you can use your food choices to support the health of U.S. farmworkers without tacking any extras on your to-do list.
Supporting U.S. agriculture starts with … well … buying U.S. food. Buying “local-” even if it’s from a neighboring state and not your neighbor’s field – cuts down on transportation waste and gives you a fresher healthier product (vitamins and minerals are often compromised as produce ages). It also supports the livelihood of farmworkers employed by our domestic farms.
If you’re in the southern U.S., farmworkers are probably busy loading up your shelves with fruits like oranges, lemons and tomatoes. Florida, one of the states employing the largest number of farmworkers in the nation, had a rough 2017 thanks to the hurricanes which leveled fields and put entire agricultural communities in jeopardy. You can put your dollar towards Florida farms to support their workers and the exemplary farmworker unions there who have made impressive strides gaining fair wages and rights.
If you’re like us in our Washington D.C. headquarters, it might seem like local produce will have to wait for the spring thaw. Winter vegetables to the rescue; farmworkers across the eastern seaboard from New York to the Carolinas are finishing pulling up cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, and beans. AFOP Health & Safety’s partners provide critical training to thousands of farmworkers across these states in pesticide safety, worker rights, and more. Does the farm you buy from keep its workers healthy with proper training and practices?
The northwest also sees a lot of cruciferous and root vegetables spring up through the chilly months. Look for squash and pumpkins too (they don’t disappear after October!), and look to local farmers for those staples that – even if not in harvest – store well throughout the year. Cool storage makes produce staples like onions, potatoes, and herbs consistently available. A bonus – herbs and garlic make your new healthy recipe delicious and flavorful without excess calories.
Have we told you yet that we’re proud of you? Resolving to eat clean this year will make you, your environment, and the farmworker community healthier. Fill that basket with fruits, vegetables, and whole foods that come from smart sources, and you can knock out two New Year’s resolutions in one:
- Improve yourself.
- Improve your community.
No quitting in February!