Zero Food Waste, Sharing Good Food, and Other Resolutions for 2016

January 8, 2016

January, as we all know, is a time for reevaluating habits and setting goals for the New Year. Recovering from the excesses of the holiday season, many of us aim to lose weight, get to the gym more often, and eat more of this or less of that. Yet many of our earnest health-related resolutions may be doomed to failure because they’re too vague, ambitious, or simply unrealistic.

We asked our CUESA volunteer community to share some of their resolutions for the New Year, with a focus on positive, simple, and actionable intentions that contribute a healthy food culture. High on the list were sharing meals and food traditions, expanding tastes and cooking skills, and reducing food waste.

We were inspired by all the good food intentions our volunteers (and a few staff) came up with and think you will be, too! Have a good food resolution for 2016? Share it with us on Facebook.

Try New Foods and Techniques

“I want to learn how to cook recipes or use techniques that scare me (BBQ included). I am also trying to eat less meat and be more veg-forward this year.”
Jessica Goldman Foung, Sodium Girl blogger and CUESA Board Member

“My food resolution is to cook with more vegetables that I’m unfamiliar with, like leeks, chard, and parsnips. I have favorites that I always use in recipes and would like to expand my arsenal.”
Courtney Buchanan, CUESA Volunteer

“My resolution is to learn how to cook more Chinese-inspired recipes in 2016. Some of my best memories in 2015 have been hosting dinner parties where my friends gather to eat, celebrate, and learn about new foods. I would love to connect more with my culture, and there are so many great Chinese dishes that work for sharing (congee, dumplings, rice bowls, etc.).”
Nancy Liu, CUESA Volunteer

“I have all these whole spices that I haven’t really learned to use, so my resolution is to learn some basic techniques for different cuisines that access more of my pantry. For example, a few different ways to build a curry or make an interesting rub or pan sauce. Soon I’ll be cooking from scratch in a whole new realm!”
Amanda Clark, CUESA Volunteer

“My food goal for this year is to learn to bake bread. Pretty excited about this—I know a good loaf will be a challenge!”
Alissa Albert, CUESA Volunteer

Create Community around Food

“Our family resolution is to have our two children (ages 11 and 9) cook for the family at least one dinner per month. This is meant to bring creativity, fun, inspiration, and togetherness into our already food-loving family.”
Bernadette Shu, CUESA Volunteer

“For years I have enjoyed hosting dinner parties and cooking for friends and family. This year I have decided to be intentional about making my kitchen a space for sharing knowledge with the people I love by inviting them to be a part of the cooking process. I believe that creating this kind of opportunity will empower my community to cook for ourselves more, and will strengthen our bonds as we learn from each other.”
Danielle Royston, CUESA Volunteer

 “Take a break from my desk to walk to the Tuesday market at least twice a month.”
Sonya Dreizler Schinske, CUESA Board Member

“More rituals with friends on every day that ends in Y. Morning trips to the market, slow afternoons drinking coffee and reading, cooking dinners together, ‘researching’ the best peanut butter ice cream.”
Brita Bookser, CUESA Volunteer

“I travel regularly for work, so I’m looking forward to hosting a brunch or dinner every few months focused on the season. This will help me keep up with everyone, and I’ll be regularly visiting the farmers market!”
Erin Archuleta, CUESA Board Member

Take a Bite Out of Food Waste

“Waste less food. Good for the wallet, the environment, and my feelings of guilt! Primary strategies: look more carefully in the fridge before going grocery shopping and don’t cook leftovers unless I will have meals at which to eat them!”
Eli Zigas, SPUR Food and Agriculture Policy Director and CUESA Committee Member

“As a mother of two small kids, I’ve used myriad tactics to get them to eat their vegetables and finish the food on their plates. One of those tactics is reminding them that there are hungry children in the world, but I was worried that the idea was losing its meaning. While they understand the concept, I thought it was important to show them things we can do about this worldwide problem. We downloaded the app ShareTheMeal and donated to United Nations World Food Programme. This turned out to be an incredible way to teach my kids how to make a small but tangible difference. In 2016, I hope to make my family more aware of food shortage and food waste and make sure they know that they can do something about it.”
Neiley Royston, CUESA Volunteer

“I’d like to waste less food in my kitchen, especially vegetables and fruits. Farmers market abundance excites me, and I buy more than I can realistically use. As an environmental advocate, I need to sharpen my skill set to use roots, stalks, tops, and all the little bits of vegetables. Dana Gunders’ new book The Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook is a huge resource for that. I love that a scientist wrote a book that anyone can use!”
Haven Bourque, Haven B Media and CUESA Committee Member

“I put a clear box in my fridge that is labeled ‘eat first’ and it is really helping me prioritize using the leftovers and last bits of items, so that I’m cutting down on food waste and saving some money in the process.”
Christine Farren, CUESA Staff

Dig In

“I’ve resolved to start composting (inspired by the worm bin at the CUESA Food Shed).”
Camila Tapernoux, CUESA Volunteer

“For the New Year, I am planting a small garden with greens and herbs. When we had to start rationing water for the drought, I tore out my previous garden as I figured that without water, nothing would grow. After many months of catching shower water and gray water, I can use that supply for watering the herbs and greens. This means a lot to me, as I think it’s important that we all try to grow something. It brings the process of planting and harvesting to a personal level, making us truly appreciate our farmers.”
Stacey Weir, CUESA Volunteer

Go Back to the Source

“Given impending movements of larger food producers moving into the organic space, and government agencies becoming more rigorous about labeling and food safety, my resolution is to educate myself and others better about the provenance of food and how it impacts our environment and health (including from a food safety standpoint).”
Minh Tsai, founder/CEO of Hodo Soy Beanery and CUESA Board Member

“My food related resolutions are not new. But, I can always improve. Goals:

1. Eat locally produced food.
2. Know the origins of my food and how it was produced or raised—produce, meat, fish, poultry.
3. Shop at farmers market as much as possible.
4. Eat organic or pesticide-free produce.
5. Eat mostly vegetables and grains, fish, and some meat.
6. Dine only at restaurants/cafés that serve food that supports the above goals. 

I feel like eating this way is not only healthy, but is good for the environment and supports smaller producers. All of these things are very important to me.”
Cathy Curtis, CUESA Board President

“It’s been over 10 years since I’ve eaten seafood. In 2016, I’d like to try eating it again, but this time I only want to eat sustainable seafood—seafood I can ask questions about and the restaurant/server will know where it comes from and how it was caught. It’s super important for me to do this right, and I’m looking forward to the adventure it will take me on.”
Madeline Edwards, CUESA Volunteer

“My two food-related resolutions for 2016 are:

1. To become involved with San Francisco’s Urban Agriculture Program. I’d like to understand the system in place, plans for future development, and educational outreach.

2. To deepen my understanding of food disparities and learn about measures being taken to address them in San Francisco as well as globally.

I’d also like to better understand the relationship between these two resolutions and the unique characteristics of regional of food systems.”
Nancy Freeborn, CUESA Volunteer

No Resolutions? Try a Mantra

“I don’t make resolutions, but someone I respect recently told me she chooses a word for the year, and this resonated with me. My word for this year is SAVOR. The idea is that it’s a reminder, a kind of mantra, which should guide me in my everyday experiences.”
Carrie Sullivan, CUESA Staff

Want to get involved with your local food community in 2016? Join us at our next volunteer orientation on January 19.

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