Thursday, November 29, 2007

Green Dinner Guidelines

We know you've been dying in anticipation, but fret no longer...round #2 of our fun green muslim dinners is right around the corner insha'Allah. In preparation for the dinner, we'd like offer the following principles:

BEFORE the dinner: Start with a prayer. Say bismillah and make your intention. Shop mindfully and be conscious of where your food is coming from.

Try to buy locally and look for produce that is in season. Not only is going to farmers markets really fun, but it cuts down on the environmental 'impact' of your meal. The average meal travels thousands of miles before it ends up on our plates. Producing, packaging and transporting food all consume energy and result in carbon emissions, which contribute to global climate change (From GWIPL). Be aware that not everything sold at farmers markets is organic, but the produce is usually in season and fresher than produce found in grocery stores. Check this link for a list of farmer's markets in the area and here for a list of seasonal items for our area.

Look for organic and fair trade products. Among the many reasons for choosing organic, at the root of it (pun intended), organic produce just tastes better and is better for you. Furthermore, fair trade standards ensure that the products meet certain social and environmental standards. Producers use environmentally sustainable production practices and are paid a fair price for their goods, which provides a livable income.

For great organic produce and groceries, check out MOM's, a local chain (and my favorite place to shop) with several locations in Maryland and one in Alexandria. There's also Root's Market in Olney, MD, Whole Foods Markets, and Trader Joe's. For zabiha meat, I only know of two butchers that sell 'organic'. (I'm not sure what constitutes 'organic') Their meat is generally pretty good and better than most places - Mediterranean Halal in Vienna and Lebanese Butcher in Falls Church.

"If you eat well, you will automatically eat less" - Dr. Jeanette Hablullah

GETTING TO the dinner: Try to reduce the 'SOV' syndrome - that is, Single Occupant Vehicle use. Not only does the growth in vehicle miles traveled consistently exceed population growth (that is - per person, we drive more every year), but single occupancy vehicle use has also increased over the last 40 years, putting more cars on the roads, especially during peak periods. These factors make transportation the second largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for over two-thirds of our fossil fuel use. For our dinners, we try to select locations that are public-transportation friendly, and we encourage attendees to carpool if coming from non-Metro accessible locations.

DURING and AFTER the dinner: Cut down on waste. Try to use recycled or reusable products and recycle or compost as much of the waste as possible.

Learn something new. These dinners are a way for us to support, inspire and learn from each other. At future dinners, we hope to include discussions on an issue/topic; think of it as "food for thought."

And most importantly, remember your original intention. Start and end with a prayer.


Sanjana said...

some more food for dinner thought: mindful eating (via our sister blog - Ramadan Compact)

Dina Badawy said...

what a great idea. thanks for the guidelines!

I'll try to throw one in late winter here in San Francisco iA...will keep you posted. It's good to see you guys starting this up in the city where my heart still resides, DC.