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Sustainable Eating: How to (Actually) Do It

Sustainable Eating: How to (Actually) Do It | Julie Resnick of feedfeed on A Couple Cooks

Look up thefeedfeed on Instagram and you’ll find thousands of mouthwatering food images and a rabid following of 750,000 foodie fans. Which made me curious — who’s the face behind this stream of culinary goodness? Two faces, actually: meet Julie and Dan Resnick, a New York-based couple with a passion for food and sustainable eating. I was thrilled to find they are active advocates for good, clean, and sustainable food. I caught up with Julie here for our latest Healthy & Whole series installment to talk about sustainable eating: what inspired her, how she does it on a day to day basis, and some of her favorite recipes. As I expected, her pursuit of sustainable eating spiraled when she started experiencing the vibrant taste of real food. Many thanks to Julie for taking the time to share her passion! Check out feedfeed on Instagram or the feedfeed website for more.

Dan and Julie Resnick of Napeague, LI prepare recipies from their "Feed Feed" Instagram blog.

Photo credits Dan Resnick, Lindsay Morris

You and your husband Dan are creators of feedfeed, a platform to help curate recipes and connect people into a cooking community. What inspired you to start this project?  

Since moving out of NYC to a small farming and fishing community on Eastern Long Island, Dan and I began been cooking and eating local, seasonal food almost exclusively. We began to seek inspiration for what to make with what we had on hand, and often wondered what other like-minded people around the world were making with similar ingredients. We began looking to the social networks for inspiration and made great connections, but found that a lot of great content was disorganized and difficult to sort through.

We decided to create feedfeed, a platform curate and connect the recipes and people we were meeting on Instagram and other networks. We wanted to provide a place that could be a source of inspiration for the average cook that was searchable by ingredient, cooking style, or meal type. We hoped it would become a living and breathing community providing a lens into kitchens around the world, and hopefully inspiring people to cook more and to use more local and seasonal products.

Well, you’ve certainly created a fantastic resource! Tell us more about seasonal and sustainable eating: what does this look like to you on a daily basis?

We belong to two organic CSA farm programs in our town (Quail Hill Farm and Amber Waves Farm), which allow us to both directly harvest from the field and get vegetables and fruit from the farm stand. We also pick up eggs from the farms’ chickens and ducks, bread made with farm wheat by our local baker Carrisa Waechter, and dairy goods from partner farms all on the premises. In the spring, summer, and fall, we harvest veggies directly from the fields twice per week.  

And while we do spend quite a bit of time preserving the food we harvest, the process of picking, washing and preserving makes for memorable family time. We supplement this with our small home garden where we grow greens, herbs, carrots, tomatoes and squash. We also belong to a CSF (Community Supported Fishery) named Dock To Dish, which delivers us a wide variety of sustainably-caught seafood from our region.

The winter season is a bit more sparse given our local climate, but both farms and our little garden utilize greenhouses and a row cover to provide greens throughout most of the winter. One farm lets us use their root cellar to store vegetables all the way through March. Our passion for this lifestyle also includes a dedication to composting as many food scraps as possible into our small rotating compost bin, which provides all the soil for our garden each year.

Eating seasonally and sustainably will creep into your life quickly once you realize how much better the food tastes!

That sounds like a lot of work, but also a lot of satisfaction in the way you approach food. For someone just starting out, it might seem daunting at first — what’s a first step that I could take if I was wanting to head in this direction?

Having replied to the last question, I do realize the lifestyle seems onerous compared to quickly picking up food at a grocery store! However, it quickly becomes a welcome part of your life because of the gratification of knowing who is growing your food and how much better the food actually tastes. A quick easy step would be to start going to your local farmers’ market or join a CSA in your region (check out Local Harvest to find one!). Many CSAs and farms make it super easy by packing a box of the week’s goodies for pickup or delivery.  

How can the average person support sustainable growing practices?

I see supporting sustainable growing practices as two-fold:

  • Getting food from a local farm that cares about the health of the soil (by properly rotating crops and incorporating animal manure to replenish nutrients)
  • Supporting a farm that cares about limiting the use of even organic pesticides when possible.

The easiest way to do this is to get to know your local farmers and get a sense of what their farming practices involve. Not every community might have such options, but more and more communities all over the world have a weekly farmers’ market that gives residents an opportunity to mix words with the people who are actually growing their food. Also support initiatives like Ugly Fruit and Vegetable working to end Food Waste, and education initiatives like Mobile Kitchen Classroom, which empowers the next generation to understand that their food choices have a meaningful impact.

So we’re all dying to know — with all of the mouthwatering recipes that you post on your Instagram feed, what are some of your favorite recipes for simple, seasonal eating?

It seems we have winter squash more than any other vegetable throughout the year, so I’ve included three of my favorite recipes: two savory and one sweet! All of them can be made with any variety of winter squash available.  

Yum, those sound delicious! I’ve got my eye on that pizza with winter squash sauce. Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Eating seasonally and supporting sustainable practices does not have to be something that you must be dogmatic about.  You can do it when it fits into your life comfortably, but what I can say is that it will creep into your life quickly once you realize how much better the food tastes!  Eating something that just came out of the ground as opposed to being harvested prior to ripening only to sit in a truck or on a shelf for weeks is no comparison. There is a reason more and more amazing chefs are becoming religious proponents of sourcing seasonal and local ingredients. Some of them believe in the philosophy and stewardship of our resources, but many are becoming converts simply because the amazing flavors they can bring to their customers!

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    February 27, 2016 at 4:09 am

    Such a wonderful, down-to-earth perspective on a topic that is too often dismissed in our busy lives. I love how you said we don’t have to be dogmatic about sustainable eating but that it quickly becomes a welcome part of your life because of the gratification of knowing who is growing your food and how much better the food actually tastes. You put words in my mouth! And that winter squash in coconut curry…gorgeous!

  • Reply
    Sasha
    March 3, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Thanks for sharing Julie and Dan’s story, it’s such an inspiring conversation you had about sustainable eating. I definitely agree, if we can’t surround ourselves with local food sources, it’s time to change our perception. It doesn’t have to start with a wild caught salmon being served for dinner. If we want to eat healthier and live better life I think we need to build that lifestyle by connecting with people who already live like this. We don’t know where to buy a wild caught salmon, but they do know where to look for it. We just need to learn our way there. Fortunately, the world is still a great place to live with plenty of natural food and lovely people willing to share with others.

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