The lifestyle of a locavore – having a dietary preference for local food – can be difficult, particularly in areas where sustainability isn’t yet prevalent. However, as a person with an environmental conscience, I do strive to live this kind of lifestyle as often as it permits. Living in Long Island, New York, a region where sustainability is still taking shape, I have found the task to be daunting at times. Although I do look for sustainable products wherever available, living sustainably on Long Island is often easier said than done.
Access to Sustainable Products
Many problems lie in the region’s design and it can be argued that these problems are pervasive throughout many areas of the United States. Suburban sprawl, congested roadways, high taxes, and lack of sustainable infrastructure are all issues that affect areas like Long Island. Corporate conglomerates often influence metropolitan regions, making it hard to support any alternative small businesses. Simply put, Long Island’s economic system does not cater to those attempting to live the lifestyle of a locavore. Fortunately though, in recent years, there has been a steady rise in the number of farmer’s markets across the region, and many supermarket chains are now beginning to drastically increase the number of sustainable products that they offer.
In recent years, Long Island’s wine growing community has flipped the region’s old paradigm on its head by pushing and encouraging the adoption of sustainable practices. Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing is the first and only sustainable viticulture program on the East Coast of the United States and the organization has certified 19 Long Island vineyards. These vineyards adhere to “international standards of sustainable practices in quality wine-grape production that have been refined for the Northeast region.” What this means is that every step in the Long Island wine production process is analyzed and scrutinized to see how and where it can be done more sustainably.
As a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur, I, like many other Long Island natives, enjoy taking a day trip to visit one of our many vineyards in the area that we refer to as the East End. By partaking in this activity, I’m not only supporting local farmers and contributing to the local economy, I’m also supporting a business whose values align with mine.
Sustainable Winegrowing Programs
Not from Long Island? Don’t worry. There are plenty of other locations where you can enjoy great wine while also supporting businesses that have adopted the same values as you.
Here are some other sustainable winegrowing programs:
Commitment to sustainability is not just limited to the areas where these certification programs exist. Wine grapes are grown all over the globe, and it’s safe to say that there’s at least one vineyard in each winegrowing region that adheres to sustainable practices. It’s those places of business that you should support if sustainability is an important priority of yours.
So, I say vote with your dollars; support your local farmers; support your local economy; support your local small business owners; support the creation of local jobs; support local government representatives that support sustainable winegrowing programs; and do it all while enjoying some locally grown, locally produced, sustainable wine.Featured Image: Nebbiolo grapes in Piedmont, Northern Italy.