What is a sustainable diet?

A sustainable diet, according to Medical News Today, is one that “has a low impact on the environment and food supply” and ensures that “the planet has enough resources to feed future generations.” There is no one single sustainable diet, and many pre-existing diets fall into the category of sustainable, the most effective of which are vegetarian and vegan diets because of how much they reduce meat consumption by. Meat and animal product consumption is less sustainable because of methane gas emissions from livestock and the  greater number of resources and land required to produce meat than plants (Johnson). Similarly, processed foods are often less sustainable, as all of the resources required to make them. However, it is important to note that you do not have to become fully vegetarian or vegan in order to have a sustainable diet. Below are some basic things you can start doing to start reducing your impact. I decided to share similar facts and tips on an instagram page I created, and I have shared one post below. I would appreciate it if you would go check it out!


(9 Practical Tips for a Healthy and Sustainable Diet)

This issue is also very relevant to my local community here in Greenville, South Carolina, where we have many food deserts. A food desert is an area “where residents do not have access to affordable nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.” In these places, people often have to shop for groceries at convenience stores and gas stations which have a very limited selection of healthy, sustainable foods (Pearce). They often have “low household incomes and high percentages of no vehicle access”, making it very difficult to seek out nutritious foods (Barton). Here is a detailed map of all the food deserts in the state idendtified by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. Luckily, a local Greenville organization, Mill Village Farms, has been helping to provide more access to sustainable food, through their Food Share program, which sells boxes of fresh produce retailed at about 30 USD for only 15 USD (FoodShare Greenville). Recently, they have also been assisting in providing food for locals affected by the COVID-19 outbreak (Pearce). For any fellow Greenville residents interested in how they can help, more can be found here.

An Example of a Food Share Box (Pearce)

Answering a few of these questions would help let me know how to continue to improve upon this or similar projects in the future:

  • If any of you already practice a sustainable diet like veganism, vegetarianism, or others, what convinced you to begin?
  • If any of you are hesistant about adopting some of these changes, what specifically seems daunting about it?
  • What did you like or not like about the layout/design of my instagram page?
  • I encourage you to do some research about whether or not there are any food deserts in your communities and any similar orginizations working to help. What did you find?

Thanks so much for reading!

Works Cited and Consulted

Share this project
  1. April 25, 2020 by Mr. Clarke

    Hi Jamie,
    I really enjoyed viewing your project, including the sense of curiosity and exploration captured in your video. I love the practical simplicity of your approach, including in the infographic. I wanted to see the local food desert map but must be missing it? Most of all, I really miss seeing you and your peers at school.
    Mr. Clarke

  2. April 25, 2020 by Alejandra

    Hi Jamie! The great thing about your page is that it is full of tips and ideas of what your local community can do in regards to making small changes that can hopefully later lead to bigger ones. Congratulations!

  3. April 25, 2020 by Grace

    Jamie, your page is well done! I like that you have explored alternatives to veganism and vegetarianism. In response to your questions, I haven’t adopted either form of diet, but look for ways to reduce my environmental impact through sustainable food products. Personally, I find it hard to make the full leap because it would be difficult to consume different foods than my family and to find the necessary diet requirements that I need.

    I like how you have introduced the “food deserts” topic because I think it is very important! People have trouble maintaining healthy and responsible diets when there is limited means in their communities. Is there a solution for this problem? Maybe one that you come up with or that already exists?

  4. April 26, 2020 by Daniella

    Your project is very informative and I think your instagram would be a really effective way of getting your message across. I think that is was really important that you included other ways to have a sustainable diet other than becoming vegan or vegetarian because many people find making a change like that very daunting. For me, I found that becoming a vegetarian was easier when I talked to people who were already a vegetarian and had gone through the same experience I had.

  5. April 26, 2020 by Jana

    Hi James! Your page is very well done. I love how you thoroughly introduced the topic, as well as the informative pictures, did a good job of getting your message across. I think that an Instagram account can be a great way how to spread this information further.

  6. April 26, 2020 by Maya

    Hi Jamie! I really like your project. My family is super focussed on eating as much locally sourced food as possible in order to lessen our impact on the environment. To answer your second question, I’m not actually vegetarian or vegan, but as I do more and more research about food and what it takes to produce meat, I find myself becoming more and more inclined to become vegetarian, or at least pescetarian (a person who still eats fish). For me, the only thing holding me back is that I do truly enjoy the occasional late night Shake Shack run or a really fantastic steak. I don’t think that these will hold me back for much longer, though, because enjoying that burger for 15 minutes is not worth the hours, gallons of water, and cow farms it takes to make it.

  7. April 27, 2020 by Katie

    Hi James! I really like your topic. Your project was very straightforward and engaging – I definitely know some new ways to alter my diet to be a better person towards the planet!

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