For the final post of our Greener Giving Gift series, we’re hoping to save you from the stressful situation of a gift-less Christmas. This one is easy, but it’s also meaningful, especially if the giver is a stranger to the kitchen. Who wouldn’t enjoy a delicious, home-cooked, organic meal?
As a kid I always loved making my own gifts for my parents, or giving them IOUs for specific tasks. This was partly because I was cheap, but also because parents enjoy gifts that require a little creativity. One great IOU is for a home-cooked organic meal. The idea also works for a spouse who never cooks, too. It’s the simplest DIY ever, and all you need is what’s right here and a few things from the grocery store.
If you’re cooking, make sure you’re cooking with the best meat available. USDA Organic labeling standards are a good guide, as they are the highest standard in the US. The “100% Organic” label means raw, unprocessed food, such as raw grains. “Organic” means at least 95% of ingredients are organic, “Made with Organic ___” items must be over 70% organic inputs.
Organic standards are different for different foods, which makes sense because free-range oats would be overdoing it. If you want to look into the actual requirements for organic certification, here is a summary of practices. Look up individual products on the USDA website, here.
Even if a product is organic, it may not be the best option. Remember, the benefits of an organic meal are benefits to the planet, and the organic label does not guarantee a healthful or fresh product. Local produce will maximize freshness and minimize emissions, and you can support small-scale local farmers.
For now, though, just write “Organic Meal” on a nice, perhaps artfully cut-out piece of paper, and act as if you’d been planning this for a while. Good luck!
Photo Credit: Flickr/Dorota Trupp, Flickr/Moyan Brenn, Flickr/Rosmarie Voegtli