Ending the calendar year in the winter was a great idea (shout out to our boy Gregory!). While there are a lot of great things that come with the season — snow, ice skating, significant holidays — it also means the year’s end for many things we love and became accustomed to in previous seasons. One such thing that slows down in the winter is the plight of agricultural endeavors.
As vegans, a lot of what we rely on for nutrition is scarcely growing in the latter months of the year. Fresh vegan food is rarely what’s offered to us without the help of farmer’s markets and the like. You may not always have the money to shop at a Co Op, and just because you find vegan options doesn’t mean fast food is the greatest way to go.
A good vegan winter requires some smart planning and preparation, but it’s completely viable and worth your time if you care to eat well!
Bring Nature Inside
Sometimes the best way to get something done is to do it yourself. Not many people know how doable it is, but indoor gardens are the ultimate DIY project and are pretty affordable. It requires some elbow grease of course, but veganism in general requires that!
House Method laid out the simple requirements for an indoor garden in an article from earlier this year. Summarized they are:
- Drainage: Put drainage holes in your plant pots, then place liquid containers or drains under said pots.
- Soil: Choose a well-draining potting soil, available at local garden centers or Home Depot.
- Temperature: Keep the temperature of the garden at 65-75 degrees fahrenheit.
- Light - Natural light is best, but grow lights may be necessary if recommended light hours cannot be met in winter. Different kinds of plants need different amounts of light.
With an indoor garden started early, you’ll be able to continue your diet excitedly during the rest of the year through the winter.
The Teamwork Effort of CSA’s
CSA, for those who do not know, is an acronym standing for Community Sustained Agriculture. CSA’s have been around for over 25 years and consist of farmers providing vegetables to organization members. It typically goes like this: someone purchases a membership or subscription to a CSA. In turn, farmers send “shares” or boxes of (usually)vegetables out to those who have purchased memberships or subscriptions. This is done weekly and could provide you with good quality, natural vegetables all year.
The other great thing about CSA’s, community gardens, and similar programs is that many of them directly support local farming and garden communities, are good for the environment, and combat corporate greed. In fact, these and similar programs often step outside of the local farming community and help similarly minded organizations which might clean up pollution and our carbon footprint, safeguard vulnerable populations, work for human and animal rights, and the like. So indirectly you may be making the world a better place in other ways besides just eating vegan.
DIY Vegetable Broth
Throughout history humans have frozen their food in special ways to preserve it. While it will not work to try and grow anything in the snow, you can certainly keep your scraps and put them in your freezer for later use in making your own vegetable broth.
To accomplish this feat, freeze your potato and carrot peels, the ends of your onions, squash, and any other non-cruciferous vegetables until you have a gallon-size bag full. Herb stems are great for this as well, as stems may actually be the most flavorful part of herbs. After washing these scraps, throw them all in a pot with water. Boil them for one measly hour and bam! You have vegetable broth! Whether you use it immediately for soup or freeze for later use, having it homemade and on hand will make those winter soups a lot easier and allow you to better control the ingredients in your food.
Additionally, you won’t have to worry about whether or not your food is really organic by doing this. The sodium levels in boxed broth can be terribly high as well. While buying it boxed may be convenient, it could also be really bad for you. Plus, homemade broth is awesome and you get to pat yourself on the back for being a fabulous cook afterward.
These are only three suggestions on keeping your winter vegan friendly. What are yours? Let me know in the comment section!