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Nine Ways to Have a Green Holiday This Year

For many parts of the country, the odds of a white Christmas are very good this year, thanks to winter storms that have blanketed many areas with piles of snow. But no matter where you live, you can also have a “green” holiday this year, by adapting your usual traditions in environmental friendly ways or by adopting new traditions that show your friends and family that you value the environment and the importance of local farms. Here are nine ways you can support local farms and have a green holiday. 

  1. Christmas tree Forget the fruitcakes this year—Give friends, family or co-workers a gift basket featuring local farm products: from in-season fruits to meats, jam, honey and nuts, you can locate sources of farm gift baskets here, and you can even search by zip code to find farms, CSAs and farm stores nearest you.
  2. Give a gift membership to American Farmland Trust. An AFT membership is a great last-minute gift for anyone who loves the land. The recipient of your gift receives AFT’s “No Farms No Food” tote bag—a reusable, environmentally friendly alternative to plastic bags—in addition to a one-year subscription to American Farmland magazine.
  3. Explore locavore during your holiday meals. The “locavore” movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or to grow or pick their own food, arguing that fresh, local farm products are more nutritious and taste better. The Oxford American Dictionary named “locavore” the word of the year in 2007!
  4. Shop local for your holiday plants, wreaths and Christmas trees. By visiting a Christmas tree farm near you, you may have the opportunity to pick and cut your own tree, take a farm sleigh ride or take part in other fun winter activities on the farm. Don’t forget to recycle your tree after the holidays or, better yet, buy a live tree that you can plant once your celebrations are done. (And don’t forget to string your tree with energy-efficient lights.)
  5. Help save the land by donating to American Farmland Trust online or by giving a gift of stock. Your generous support helps AFT protect America’s farm and ranch land, work with communities to create local food systems and continue programs to keep the land and our food healthy.
  6. Teach the children in your life about local farms by giving them books and DVDs that recount and celebrate the rhythms and cycles of agriculture. Try Donald Hall’s book Ox-Cart Man or the “On the Farm” educational video series about life on a New York farm.
  7. For the chefs in your family, give them cookbooks that celebrate the pleasures of sustainable and local farm-grown food. Try one of the cookbooks from famed Chez Panisse chef Alice Waters, a pioneer in cooking with locally grown, seasonal ingredients. Other cookbooks dedicated to local farm ingredients include the vegetarian Real Food Daily Cookbook, At Home with Magnolia and The Sustainable Kitchen Cookbook.
  8. Give a gift subscription to a CSA farm. CSA farms offer produce subscriptions, where buyers receive a weekly or monthly basket of produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, milk or any sort of different farm products. What better way to make sure that your loved ones eat healthier in the New Year?
  9. Give a present to the planet. Reduce the impact of your holiday travel this year by purchasing carbon offsets equivalent to the carbon emissions generated by driving or flying. On average, Americans who travel for the holiday season will drive or fly nearly 500 miles to visit family and friends, creating 533 lbs pounds of carbon emissions.

American Farmland Trust