Tips for Cultivating An `Ecological Kitchen'

`A LOT of people are looking for ways to help take care of the Earth, and we find ourselves asking `What more can I do?'" says Lorna Sass, author of "Recipes from an Ecological Kitchen." (William Morrow, 1992)

Everyone has an "entry point," she notes. For some people, it might be politics and lobbying; for others it might be organic gardening.

"For me, the kitchen is the entry point for making a difference." Ms. Sass says. "I feel there are good philosophical reasons for eating a mainly plant-based diet."

She offers these suggestions for stocking and eating from an `ecological kitchen':

* Increasing the number of non-meat and vegetarian meals you eat.

* Cooking a meal from scratch rather than buying processed food. If you're having one a week, have another one a week.

* Eating food in season.

* Buying foods from your region. (The closer to home your food is grown, the less energy is used to transport it and store it.)

* Supporting your "green" market or your local farmer.

* Buying organic produce, if it's available. Encourage the produce manager of your supermarket to carry it. "If more and more people demand that, it's going to be more and more available at a more reasonable price."

* Avoiding heavily packaged foods."What people need to realize is we say, `I'll throw it away.' There is no away." Extra packaging uses up resources, plus you pay extra money for it.

* Opting for nontoxic household cleansers.

* Conserving water.

* Cutting down on waste. (Sass reuses zip-lock bags, for example, and eliminates use of paper towels.)

* Starting a small garden.

* Asking yourself: How will this affect future generations?

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