Updated: May 5, 2020
Align your wedding with your values
How? By understanding how to minimize the environmental impact your wedding will have. Considering that there are 2.4 million weddings in the United States every year collectively costing $72 billion, trying to reduce the carbon footprint for your own wedding can help lessen the environmental impact of your big day.
The average wedding produces 400 pounds of garbage and 62 tons of CO2
In just day, a wedding produces the equivalent emissions it would take 4 to 5 people to produce in one year
There are a range of ways you can reduce your impact on the environment – from sending out e-Invitations (to save the trees), decorating with solar lights and candles, buying a “new-to-you” wedding dress at a consignment store to planting trees to commemorate your wedding. But, do not overlook the environmental impact of food you serve to your guests.
Keep sustainability in mind when selecting a wedding caterer
Once you have decided that your wedding should be aligned with your own social values, one of the most important decisions you can make during your wedding planning process is to serve only sustainable food to your guests. Sustainable food isn’t just about the food itself, it’s a combination of factors including how it’s produced, how it’s distributed and how it’s consumed. Sustainable eating is about choosing foods that are healthful to our environment and our bodies.
There are many excellent reasons to ensure that your food and foodservice contributes to the overall sustainability of your wedding. Here are a few:
1. Serving locally sourced food reduces greenhouse gas emissions
While it may be temping to serve avocado toast as an appetizer at your winter wedding, consider where that avocado has to travel from before it arrives on your guests’ plates. On average, American meals travel about 1,500 miles from their origin to your table. This number is even higher when food has to travel by ship, train or plane from other countries. The bottom line is that local food often retains more nutrients. Local produce, for example. is allowed to ripen naturally, while food that travels long distances is often picked before it’s ripe.
By working with a caterer that only uses in-season local and/or organic foods that are produced nearby, you not only reduce transport-related emissions and fuel consumption, but you also support local farmers. The payoff to your guests is that they enjoy food that is fresh, delicious and nutritious.
2. Food produced locally often contains fewer pesticides and is less harmful to your guests
Foods from local growers may contain less (or no) pesticides. Why should you care? Some studies have indicated that the use of pesticides even at low doses can increase the risk of certain cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Some small-scale farmers use organic methods but aren’t certified because they simply aren’t big enough to be able to afford the certification fees. Even if they aren’t organic, small farmers tend to use fewer chemicals than large, industrialized farms.
Organic farming practices also reduce pollution, conserve water, reduce soil erosion, increase soil fertility, and use less energy. Farming without pesticides is also better for nearby birds and animals as well as people who live close to farms.
3. Serving humanely raised protein at your wedding delivers health benefits to your guests and the planet
Even if you are not an animal rights activist, there are many great reasons to serve only humanely raised meat at your wedding. Grass-fed cattle, for example, raised outside of feedlots have a lower incidence of bacterial contamination. Meat from chickens or cows that have been free to roam and eat grass have a better dietary fat profile and higher levels of heart-healthy Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) fats and omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce risk of heart disease as well as diabetes and high blood pressure.
And it’s not only people who benefit. Research shows that humane animal farms typically use far less fossil fuels and release fewer air contaminants than grain-fed facilities.
Ensure that your caterer has a sustainable, humanely raised protein program that ensures that animals enjoy continuous access to pasture or range. This also means no feedlots, cage confinement, hormones and sub-therapeutic (preventative or growth-promoting) antibiotics.
4. Serving local, sustainable food boosts local economies
By choosing food produced locally for your wedding, you’re also supporting your community, and you help keep local producers in business. Buying local food also creates local jobs at farms and in local food processing and distribution systems. And, food dollars spent at local farms and food producers stay in the local economy, creating more jobs at other local businesses. Finally, working with a wedding caterer that sources local food helps local farms survive and thrive, keeping land from being redeveloped into suburban sprawl.
5. Sustainable food generates less waste
Because locally sourced food travels a shorter distance to your guest’s plates, less food is wasted in distribution, warehousing and merchandising.
Because sustainability informs everything we do at On Safari Foods, we take our commitment to eliminating waste a few steps further. In addition to donating surplus food from your wedding to local food banks and missions, we compost our food scraps. As a matter of course, we recycle cardboard, plastics glass and used cooking oil.
We offer you the option letting your guests take surplus food home in compostable to-go containers and we give you the option of reusable platters reduce extra packaging waste.
Making the decision to serve sustainable food at your wedding
More and more couples are realizing that their wedding can be an expression of their love and their personal values. You are already buying organic food for your home, recycling food waste and supporting your local farmer’s market. Why wouldn’t you ensure that your wedding follows the same values – from the invitation to the food and everything in between? The good news is that your guests will be delighted with farm-to-table catering because locally sourced, ethical food is fresh, delicious and more nutritious than factory-farmed food that has to travel long distances.
ABOUT ON SAFARI FOODS
On Safari Foods is a Seattle-based sustainable caterer and corporate food service company. We have been voted the best wedding caterer in Seattle. We use seasonal, local produce whenever possible and are one of the only Seattle caterers with a 100% humanely raised protein program. Contact us today to schedule a conversation about your wedding.