Earth Day Reflections and Easy Sustainable Practices

Earth Day Reflections and Easy Sustainable Practices with Melissa Ferris, MS, RDN, LDN

Earth Day is just around the corner, and what better time to chat about some simple yet impactful ways we can all contribute to our planet’s health? I’m Melissa Ferris, Corporate Wellness Registered Dietitian for Dining & Events at Elior North America. I’m here to share some of my personal tips for living a more sustainable life—both in the kitchen and beyond.

My Mini Urban Garden Adventure
Raised garden bed on wheelsI’m gearing up to plant seeds for my backyard garden. Living in the city means my “yard” is more like a tiny sliver of outdoor space. However, last year I got creative with a raised bed on wheels. It’s amazing how much you can grow in such a small area: herbs, greens, and even cherry tomatoes! This not only cuts down on plastic packaging from store-bought herbs and greens but also means I can harvest just what I need, reducing food waste—one leaf at a time. On my list to grow this year: cilantro, parsley, green onions, rosemary, chives, red leaf and butter lettuce, kale, edible flowers (love freezing these in ice cubes and adding to mocktails), and more cherry tomatoes.

The Magic of Reusable Paper Towels
As someone who loves to cook, I used to go through paper towels like there was no tomorrow. Discovering reusable paper towels changed the game for me. They’re durable, easy to clean in the laundry, and have saved me both money and guilt over creating unnecessary waste.

Embracing Local and Seasonal
This spring and summer, I’m all in for shopping at farmer’s markets and possibly joining a CSA. It’s a fantastic way to support local farmers, explore new veggies, and spark creativity in the kitchen. Plus, the nutritional benefits of eating fresh are why I choose local first.

A War on Food Waste
Food waste is a huge issue, but there are easy ways I’ve found to help tackle it:

  • Freezing near-expired fruits and greens for smoothies or soups.
  • Cooking in batches for future meals can be a lifesaver.
  • Planning meals and shopping accordingly to avoid excess buying.

Plant-based Creativity
Incorporating more plant-based meals has pushed me to explore new recipes and flavors. Some of my recent favorites include high protein avocado white bean sandwiches and spicy peanut tofu bowls. Not only is this approach kinder to our planet, but it also keeps that grocery bill in check.

Choosing Foot Power
Living in the Boston area without relying on my car has been a revelation. Walking more not only dodges city traffic but also incorporates more movement into my day. Plus, it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors.

Supporting the Local Economy
Whether it’s food, skincare, or gifts, choosing local brands and businesses makes a big difference. It’s about supporting our community and reducing the carbon footprint associated with long-distance transportation.

DIY Over Store-Bought
Making items like salad dressing and granola from scratch helps me reduce packaging waste. It’s easier than you might think and tastes so much better!

Bye-Bye, Single-Use Plastics
I’ve been phasing out single-use ziplock bags, opting for storage containers instead. Upcycling glass jars has been a fun and effective solution for this.

I love to make those small, sustainable changes that add up over time. You don’t have to overhaul your entire life overnight. Every little bit helps, and together, we make a significant impact.


With green love,
Melissa Ferris, RD