A new survey by the Environmental Defense Fund has found that more than a third of Americans don’t eat at least half their meals outdoors.
And it’s not just the average consumer who doesn’t know where to go to eat outdoors.
A large majority of the survey respondents are unaware that there are plenty of places where you can buy local produce and meats.
“A lot of people don’t realize they can make it their own, that there’s a great food supply, and that they can really go and have fun doing it,” said Erin McLean, director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Agriculture.
“People are really missing out on this, so we have to start working to educate the public and encourage them to take it seriously.”
The Environmental Defense Foundation conducted the survey online, and the results were released Wednesday.
The survey found that 63% of Americans eat out for lunch, lunch or dinner, but only 40% of those surveyed said they buy all their meals at home.
Of those who eat out at home, almost half say they buy their food locally, and they’re more likely to say they’re not eating out for the same reason as the survey participants: They’re trying to cut down on environmental impact.
Nearly a third say they’ve already reduced their environmental impact by reducing their amount of outdoor time and buying local produce, meat, and seafood.
“You don’t want to be the one who’s making the changes that people are going to want to do,” McLean said.
“So, I think the best way to get a sense of what people are doing and what they’re concerned about is just to see what the average person is doing and see what kind of changes they’re making and how that affects their environment.”
The survey also found that fewer than one in four Americans are aware that a food store has a compostable toilet, or that organic food is more environmentally friendly than conventionally grown.
But that’s changing, with more than half of Americans (52%) now saying that they compost their food, and more than two-thirds (69%) of respondents say they use an organic kitchen.
More than three in 10 (39%) of the respondents say that they recycle their produce.
And more than three-quarters of respondents (77%) say that organic products are more environmentally sustainable than conventional foods.
This is a very interesting trend, said Amy Jaffe, director for sustainable agriculture at the Natural Resources Defense Council.
“We are really finding that a lot of Americans are really wanting to know where their food comes from,” Jaffe said.
For example, more than one-third of respondents said that their produce comes from a non-organic farm, and almost one-half (46%) said that they buy at least part of their produce from a local farm.
Another 18% said that a part of the produce they buy comes from an organic farm.
“There’s a lot more awareness of the need for farmers to be more environmentally conscious,” Jaff said.
She added that people can learn more about sustainable farming by visiting local farmers markets, visiting farms that offer produce and meat, or visiting a farmers market where people can get fresh, local produce.
“They can actually walk into a farmers’ market and see how they can grow organic produce, and it can be very good,” Jafas said.
But there are a lot fewer farmers markets in the United States.
In addition to the environmental benefits of buying locally, farmers markets are also great places to get creative with the produce.
There are more than 500 markets nationwide, and you can find some of the most popular and innovative produce in the country at local farmers’ markets.
Jaffe recommends the following as places you can shop: Fresh produce at local markets.
Most farmers markets have produce available to purchase.
Some farmers markets also offer fresh meats.
For more information about the environment, check out the Environmental Justice Report.