Tag Archives: sustainable

5 Tips for a Sustainable Thanksgiving

This is a guest post that I wrote for The MBA Hub blog for Portland State University.  Check them out if you are a student or are interested in what the Portland State University School of Business is up to.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful to live in the land of plenty!  Portland has so much to offer with its sustainably focused farmers and long growing season.  Here are 5 tips toward a more sustainable Thanksgiving:

1.)    Local Organically Grown Produce – Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry Sauce, Mashed Potatoes & Pumpkin Pie are all opportunities to buy local and pesticide free.  Support your farmers as we run to the end of the market season.  The Portland Farmers Market on campus is still open through December 18th, and many others are open year round.  Check out Local Harvest or USDA  farmer’s market database for your local farmers’ market availability.

2.)    Gobble Gobble –  If you aren’t having a vegetarian holiday, a Free Range Pasture Raised bird is the only way to go.  They have eaten all of the things that birds naturally eat instead of being confined and force-fed a diet of grain and antibiotics.  This varied diet makes a much tastier juicier bird, which has fertilized the land throughout its life.  You are definitely going to pay more, but once you try one of these birds you won’t go back.  You can really taste the value!  Oh, and don’t forget to use the drippings for gravy, and the carcass for turkey soup after the holiday.  Nothing should go to waste on this tasty bird!

3.)    Local Brews and Vino – Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to sample some of the seasonal microbrews available from your local brewmasters and to treat your guests to a bottle of local Willamette Valley wine.

4.)    Forget the Packaging and Preservatives – Try cooking from scratch this holiday.  Prepackaged foods come with a lot of extra packaging and are full of preservatives.  Bring your own containers to the store and buy your ingredients from the bulk bins.

5.)    Serve – Sustainability is all about making strong healthy communities.  Find some time this holiday season to help out in your community and give back.

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?


A day at the ranch

A project that I am working on for school (more on that later), brought me out to a Country Natural Beef ranch today.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Barnhart and spending the day with his family.  The Country Natural Beef cooperative is a group of sustainable cattle ranches working together to supply a quality product to a growing market of health and environmentally conscious consumers.  Their cattle are raised out at pasture without hormones or antibiotics, and when they do eventually go to the feed lot and processing facility, Country Natural Beef maintains control of their standards of care.  Each animal can also be traced back to the ranch.  These farming practices and control over the supply chain are what makes them able to supply beef to companies with some of the highest standards in the sustainable food movement.

I have to say though, I had just as much fun talking to the kids as I did their “Poppa”.  It really brought me back to my days in 4-H raising and showing animals myself.  They do a lot of things differently than we did when my brother raised “Rusty” the steer, but it reminded me of just how important it is for kids to have a connection with where their food comes from.  This applies to carnivores and vegetarians alike.  Not every kid gets to live on a farm, but every kid should take a trip to one.  Find where your local u-pick farm is, or when your local county fair is scheduled and start the conversation with a farmer.  Kids are full of questions, and farmers love to talk about what they do.  It will be a trip they won’t soon forget. 🙂

Have you thanked your farmer today?