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This post is the final in a series of posts by Heifer Senior Coordinator of School Programs Kim Machnik. If you haven't already, go back and read each week's post. Heifer Celebrates the Harvest Season: Food Systems at Home and Around the World; Finding the Source; What's Your Food Culture?; Your Choices Matter; Food on the Move.

This month on the Heifer blog and out in the world, food has been the topic on the tip of everyone’s tongue (yes, pun intended!) We’ve talked about the sources of food in your community, food culture, seasonality, the impact of your foodchoices, and the food movement. It’s a lot to stomach (there I go again!), but also too much to avoid. Putting all of this information about food choices to work for you, instead of struggling to manage it all, is possible. As we cometo the end of our month of food blogging, try integrating these simple principles to put what you’ve learned into action:

  1. Food should be savored. Choose foods that aredelicious and varied, and take time whenever possible to make the cookingexperience part of your experience of food. If you can grow your own food,that’s just more time you can spend enjoying the process of food. The farther back in the process you go, the better the food tastes! Try this cheese recipe for an easy “from scratch” experience (I recommend seasoning it with oregano, thyme, and a little bit of salt), or use these composting experiments if you’re trying out a new garden- even an indoor one for thefall!
  2. Every little bit counts. You don’t have to committo eating 100% local, environmentally sustainable, fair trade foods to make a difference in your own health and the health of the planet and its people. Choose small steps and incremental changes, and give yourself credit for taking action! Check out BothSides of a Coffee Cup, a lesson on fair trade vs. conventional coffee sourcing, and decide if that’s one first step that makes sense for you.
  3. Share the joy! Reaching out to others and encouraging your community to think about food in a healthier way for people and the planet isn’t about beingpushy, a downer, or a lobbyist. All you have to do is share the best of yournew food experiences to ignite the enthusiasm in someone else. Invite a friend to the farmer’s market for the good company and free samples. Experiment with earthworms in your classroom to get students thinking about food as acycle. Bake something delicious with fruit from your neighborhoodand share it with your co-workers. If you get ambitious, think about hosting alocal lunch or a 100-mile meal (where everything you serve comes from within100 miles) at your school, church, or community center. Check out these action ideas for some thoughts on how to educate your community in a positive wayat such an event. It doesn’t take much to make people think- and have fun doing it!
Reach out to us at Heifer anytime (through this blog, Twitter,Facebook, or bysending us an email) withquestions, inspiration, or wonderful stories. Our mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth, and we thank you for being a part of a community taking action to do just that.

Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.