Feature photo by aamerjaved

With summer fast approaching, now is the perfect time to start planning and organizing your backyard soirées. Having backyard get-togethers is a great way to reconnect and spend quality time with friends and family while enjoying delicious food. Please keep the environment in mind while planning a get-together. Below are some steps to tread lighter on Mother Earth while enjoying your party.

  1. Consider sending an evite rather than a paper invitation. This saves time, money and the environment. Evite and Punchbowl are some favorites for their unique evites.
  2. While preparing for the big (or small and intimate) bash, think about what you can use from your home and/or garden to decorate. Take a cue from Martha Stewart by using fresh cut flowers from your garden, an empty vase full of lemons and limes, rocks or pine cones as a centerpiece.
  3. Instead of buying disposable plates, cutlery and cups, consider using your own from your cupboards. Not only does this look more elegant, it saves many disposables from going to the landfill. Also, consider using cloth napkins (in bright, fun colors preferably). If you cannot even contemplate doing the dishes after your soirée, please use compostable/biodegradable or recyclable items. Don’t forget to put out a bin so people recycle the recyclables!
  4. Summer is a spectacular time for a party considering all the produce that is in season. A watermelon basket filled with melon balls always makes quite the impression. Fruit kebabs on bamboo skewers are a fun and exciting option as well.
  5. When deciding the menu for the party, keep the season in mind and what is available locally. Check out your local farmers’ markets or the website for Local Harvest to get delicious, in-season produce that is sure to wow your loved ones.
  6. If you must eat meat, please consider buying your meat from a local source who raises and slaughters their animals humanely. Grilling meat is quite toxic and produces carcinogens. There are lots of resources available you want to learn how to make your meat less toxic while grilling.
  7. Let’s not forget the drinks! When I think of summer, I think about all the delicious, lighter fruity drinks. Mojitos are so refreshing on a warm summer day. Sangria is a delectable option especially if using local, organic fruit and even possibly local, organic wine.
  8. Consider having your backyard bash during the day to take advantage of the natural light. If the evening is the best time for your get together, using natural soy candles to light the way would be an eco-friendly option.

Following the above suggestions will help you reduce your carbon footprint while throwing your fun-filled backyard bash. Sharing food with loved ones can be a source of great pleasure, an expression of caring for others and a way to slow down the sometimes frenetic pace of our lives. Sharing food is a tangible way to express our desire for community and our willingness to nurture others and be nurtured in turn. Because food is closely connected to our cultural heritage, sharing also allows us to celebrate and experience diverse culinary traditions. Enjoy your eco-friendly backyard soirées!

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