Voting is one of our greatest civic duties, but don’t stop advocating for change when election day ends. Your food choices have a huge impact on the environment, so it’s more important than ever to be conscious of the power of your actions. Here are three simple ways to start creating positive change in post-election America. 

1. Support CSAs

Maddie Cole

Want to experience the farmers’ market and reduce carbon emissions without leaving your dorm? Buy a share in Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. By joining a CSA, you pay an upfront fee that covers a local farmer’s operating costs. In return, the farmer delivers a weekly or biweekly box of seasonal produce directly to you for the entire season.

These bundles of farm-fresh goodness typically include a range of veggies, but some farmers add farm products like cheese, eggs, and meat. Since your food is only transported a short distance, you’ll be cutting down on greenhouse gases and reducing your carbon footprint tremendously.

A CSA will ensure you consistently have fresh, healthy food, and you may even learn to cook vegetables you didn’t know existed (celeriac, anyone?). Support local businesses, receive seasonal produce, and reduce carbon emissions. What could be better? Find a CSA near you with this locator by LocalHarvest.

2. Get Educated about Food Deserts

Kathleen Lee

Living in food deserts, or areas with limited access to healthy, affordable foods, greatly increases the risk of obesity and diabetes, and 23.5 million Americans live in one. This shocking statistic should motivate you to advocate for change, but first things first: education. Use USDA’s locator to find food deserts near you, then educate friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers alike.

After spreading the word, start collecting food to donate to food banks, or work in a community garden. The food desert epidemic is a public health crisis that can no longer be ignored. If you believe that all Americans have the right to nutritious, affordable meals, take action. 

3. Up Your Water Bottle Game

It’s time to kick your plastic water bottle habit to the curb. No excuses. You may think that refilling these bottles makes using them less harmful, but this action provides ample opportunity for bacterial growth and chemical leaching. BPA, a chemical linked to obesity, diabetes, cancer, and fertility problems after high levels of exposure, is a common component of plastic water bottles.

Even so, 80% of plastic bottles aren’t recycled, and they are quite literally trashing the Earth. On the other hand, reusable water bottles are a much healthier (not to mention prettier) choice. Not only will buying a reusable bottle save you money, but they are an easy way to be eco-friendly and stay hydrated.

Remember: individual actions will always be important. Your food choices have powerful consequences that affect more lives than just your own. Presidential elections come every four years, but you should choose to make a difference every day. Your country will thank you.