litterless lunch A\J AlternativesJournal.ca A\J's litterless lunch – yes, that's a sneak peek at the new cover.

The A\J team is taking up Earth Day Canada’s challenge to Act for the Planet by trying out new habits during Earth Month. We’ll be following (roughly) along with the EDC’s list of 30 challenges, and you can follow our progress – and let us know how you’re doing – here on the Sustainable A\J blog! We’ll hear from everyone at A\J on the challenges they’ve tried out (and some things we’re already doing) in weekly blog posts hosted by web editor Emily Slofstra.

Week 4: On your plate

Monday, April 22: “Vegetarian for a day”

Emily: In my house we’ve been a bit backwards for the month. On Mondays we pull some organic chicken out of the freezer and cook it up for that evening and the following day’s lunches. But besides our “meatie mondays,” we eat mostly vegetarian these days. It’s been fairly cost-effective since we buy organic, and I’m learning lots of great bean and lentil recipes! My favourite is this simple but delicious Ethiopian Lentil Stew recipe.

Tuesday, April 23: “Forgo bottled water”

Emily: I usually carry around a water bottle as well as a hot beverage container, and the latest addition to my litterless lunch arsenal is my Greycoat Software bottle from Green’s Your Colour (it’s the one on the far right in the photo above). While I usually use it for hot beverages, this bottle’s insulation is also invaluable for keeping cold beverages refreshingly cool without sweating all over your bag. It even came with an ice strainer! If you would like one of these amazing bottles, scroll to the bottom to enter in a giveaway to win a free 500ml Green’s Your Colour insulated bottle.

Wednesday, April 24: Litterless Lunches

(Other) Web Editor Laura: The A\J office is close to litterless most days – almost all of us bring our lunch and eat together, and we keep a stash of communal dishes and cutlery around. Last Wednesday, we all showed off our favourite reusable lunch containers, which you can see above.

We also try to be litterless in our post-lunch cleanup! In addition to refilling the dish soap at the health food store around the corner instead of buying a new bottle, we keep a stash of dish towels in the kitchen and hand towels (actually thrift store wash cloths) in the bathroom!

Saturday, April 27: “100 Mile Meal”

ESAC Intern Emma: Local food has become something of a passion of mine over the last three years, though to be honest I never gave much thought to where my food was coming from until I moved to Waterloo region three years ago. In Waterloo, you are never very far from the rolling hills of countryside where the family farm still exists. Without these visual clues, preparing a 100 mile meal would probably seem a more daunting challenge in this northern climate. Indeed, in April rather than July, rutabaga was much more on the menu than fresh strawberries, available at any supermarket.

So, it is of little surprise that 2/3 of my ingredients included root vegetables. Those, along with a "chicken roast" and a strawberry rhubarb pie (ah the wonder of preserves!), were readily available at my local farmer's market. For my meal, I made potato wedges and caramelized carrots along with my roast chicken. What could be better? All while supporting local farms and shrinking my ecological footprint.

Sunday, April 27: “Shop Smart, Waste Less”

Emily: I’ve been meal planning for a few weeks now, as most evenings I’m cooking for at least five, plus making enough for lunches. Meal planning not only means that our meals and snacks are balanced and healthy throughout the day, but I am also going to the grocery store less often. For more tips on eating smart, check out 10 Ways to Waste Less Food from Green Living Online.

Monday, April 29: “Never Stop Learning”

Did you know that A\J posts book and documentary reviews on a regular basis? Our creative guru Marcia checked out Kat Cizek’s multi-award-winning, interactive NFB documentary project: Highrise. Read her review, and check out all of the other commentaries we have posted on films and books. Our next issue, Art & Media (the cover of which you can see in the photo above), will also contain a plethora of reviews, so be sure to pick it up if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of environmental media out there and want A\J to give you some direction.

Tuesday, April 30: "Keep it Going"

Emily: Tomorrow, A\J will be starting the 30x30 Nature Challenge from the David Suzuki Foundation with a picnic lunch. If you missed the Earth Day Canada challenge or just love taking environmental action to the next level, sign up for the Nature Challenge and commit to spending 30 minutes outdoors for 30 days! Getting outside can anchor a connection with nature that motivates you to live sustainably – not to mention all the health benefits!

Take up the challenge yourself and download the Act for the Planet 30-day checklist and EcoKids ideas.

Emily is former A\J web editor and a graduate of Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University. Emily is an urban homesteader who tries to live as plastic-free, local and organic as possible, and can be intense about it. 

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