With The Climate Crisis, A Thanksgiving Vegan Dinner Is On The Horizon

You may not notice the difference right away when you sit down for your Thanksgiving dinner, but the climate crisis is affecting the foods we buy and eat on holidays and weekdays. This is partly due to the fact that more and more people are becoming aware of the consequences of their eating habits on the environment. But there is more to it. The past year has been fraught with challenges for farmers and food systems, from droughts to forest fires to warmer weather patterns and intensified hurricanes. As the effects of the climate crisis deepen, the likelihood of a Thanksgiving vegan dinner will also be on the family holiday table of the future.

What is a national day of mourning for many natives can also become a gathering that reflects all our times and transitions. Like the false tale of pilgrims holding a harvest festival 400 years ago, the food on our Thanksgiving table is the story of a people who have been removed from the natural world that naturally sustains us. Perhaps we can learn to respect and emulate the incredibly sophisticated native farmers who once grew corn in the center of diets and cultural and spiritual life.

The wrong way taken – Industrial agriculture and the climate crisis

Wet soil, rising temperatures and lower grain feed yields make it difficult for traditional farms to breed turkeys and for consumers to rationalize higher prices per hectare. pound. Wheat, which accounts for 20% of all calories consumed by humans, is vulnerable to drought and hammering rains and is expected to produce lower yields as early as 2022. It also loses its nutritional value due to climate variations. Cranberries, which respond to temperature variations, bud earlier than ever, but are really susceptible to frostbite. Pumpkins are also targets of cold and frost, which can cause them to become soft and rotten before harvest. Potatoes, green beans and Brussels sprouts will show reduced yield and quality due to drought. Delicious vegetables thrive in the cool months before Thanksgiving, but what happens if those temperatures do not drop?

In addition, feed industrial agriculture (pun intended) the climate crisis. Food production is the leading cause of global environmental change, accounting for up to 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of freshwater consumption. The meat and dairy industry produces a heavy carbon footprint: 14.5% of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Investors Bill Gates and Richard Branson have been looking at cell-based alternatives to turkey, as have Tyson and Cargill, who support upstarts like Upside Foods, Future Meat Technologies and Aleph Farms. Could laboratory-grown meat and seafood turn ground-to-table into a cell-to-harvest feast?

Or is cellular food production another way to undermine, to deny the truth about our Western food error diet? Is it not time to switch to primarily plant-based menus to move us towards more sustainable, ethical and climate-adapted diets?

What foods could appear as part of a Thanksgiving vegan spread?

The climate crisis is revising the way we think about eating. As the planet warms up and Thanksgiving favorites become more expensive or harder to grab, replacing long-standing menu items with sustainable alternatives can work to satisfy our nostalgia and keep traditions alive while meeting planetary needs. New foods we may not have considered before become exciting, especially when talented chefs and connoisseurs embrace and celebrate them.

Expansion during low-emission scenarios will stimulate Burgundy truffles to take advantage of future warming, according to recent research. Appreciated for their earthy aroma and intense taste, truffles are a delicacy and part of the world’s finest dishes. Truffles are beginning to be grown in the United States.

The way crops are grown can add a whole new dimension to improving the soil. Take, for example, Kernza®, which is the brand name for the grain of an intermediate wheatgrass (Thinopyrum intermedium) developed at The Land Institute. Today, this ecologically beneficial perennial grain has already found its way into the commercial supply chain of small niche markets. If you want to see what it’s like to bake with this perennial grain, check this out Washington Post Article.

Kelp, which is more common for diets from Southeast Asia than to the United States, is easing its way to restaurant menus and grocery shelves. This salty superfood, which NOAA says can offer an opportunity to diversify farming, helps the climate by absorbing nitrogen and phosphorus, which are the result of rainwater runoff and point sources behind the dead zones that form in the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of Chesapeake. Kelp has plenty of culinary options – it can be used as a garnish, rehydrated and added to foods such as soups and stews, or ground with dough for biscuits and other snacks.

And all hope is not out of your favorites. Vertical farming systems can be a method of growing existing Thanksgiving vegetables under controlled environments that measure for nutrient supply, pH, temperature and oxygen content, and they can often do all of this without pesticides. Vertical farms are able to grow food year-round because they maintain uniform growth conditions regardless of the weather outside and are much less vulnerable to climate change. This promises a constant flow of products to consumers and a consistent income for growers. Various advantages of vertical agriculture over traditional agriculture, such as reduced agricultural input and crop failure and restored agricultural land, have enabled researchers to implement large-scale vertical agriculture.

Ideas for a live Thanksgiving vegan topping

Need help using your imagination to create a Thanksgiving vegan or vegetarian spread? Here are some great ideas for you.

Securing the future of global food security will require changes in the way we produce our food, as well as in what we eat. Increased consumption of protein-rich plants, such as soy and legumes, may be part of the solution, and plant-based meat substitutes can fill the desire for meat without affecting mammals, soil and atmosphere. It goes without saying that all food production must seek to utilize the earth’s natural resources as sustainably as possible.

From all of us at CleanTechnica, we hope you and your family enjoyed a healthy, happy and hopeful Thanksgiving holiday.

Image courtesy of NOAA / open source

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