Food production is currently one of the highest energy-consuming sectors of manufacturing. However, there are very intuitive food production alternatives and considerations that could lead to a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle, some of which include subsistence farming, urban agriculture programs, and modification to commercial products.
Subsistence farming, or subsistence agriculture, is when a farmer grows food for themselves and their family on a small plot of land. Unlike other types of farming, subsistence farming is focused more on survival. There is very little or no emphasis on trading and selling goods or operating as a business, but utilizing this technique can be environmentally advantageous and sustainable in the sense that you can reject consumerism at its source.
In an urban community, such as Washington DC, agriculture is few and far between. However, many urban gardens are beginning to implement a tactic of sustainability called Community Shared Agriculture, which is a program that expands the accessibility of natural and locally grown produce. The CSA Directory lists farms or networks/associations of multiple farms that offer consumers “regular (usually weekly) deliveries of locally-grown farm products during one or more harvest season(s) on a subscription or membership basis”. After paying a subscription/membership fee, customers have access to a selection of farm products. This method of sustainable food production is slightly more logistically complicated but is an excellent suggestion for urban areas of limited availability.
However, it is difficult to sustain a holistically nutritious diet through simply just farming—unless you have an unusual amount of free time—so there are alternatives to food production that commercial manufacturers should take into consideration. For example, using less plastic packaging, and using bamboo, cardboard, or another biodegradable material as an alternative. Additionally, they can prioritize reusable products, and encourage the reuse of such products through advertising techniques. On the consumer side, you can take action to shop more sustainably by supporting brands and companies that are turning to some of these alternatives!