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Natural Awakenings Central New Jersey


Sustainable Grocery Shopping

Sustainable Grocery Shopping


Bring Reusable Shopping Bags

Americans use approximately 100 billion single-use plastic bags each year, which accumulate in landfills and waterways and never truly decompose. Some states have banned disposable bags, but many still permit them. Come prepared to the grocery store with reusable bags to reduce the use of single-use plastics. 

Shop the Perimeter

Food packaging and containers make up 23 percent of landfill waste. Shop around the perimeter of the store as much as possible to find the freshest, healthiest foods with the least amount of packaging, such as produce, bulk items, dairy, fresh fish and meat. Bulk items like nuts, dry beans, coffee, tea and grains can be purchased in exactly the amount needed with no packaging. 

Plan Ahead

The average American wastes about 21 percent of the food they buy, which equates to about $1,800 a year. To avoid overbuying and shrink the carbon footprint of multiple shopping trips, plan meals a week (or month) ahead and come with a shopping list organized by the sections or aisles of the store.

Shop Local and In Season

Local produce has a drastically smaller carbon footprint than fruits and vegetables that must travel long distances by truck, airplane or ship. Buying local, in-season produce reduces waste because the produce is fresher when purchased and will not spoil as quickly at home. If the family’s diet includes meats, choose pasture-raised, grass-fed products from farmers that practice regenerative organic agriculture, which improves the quality of the land and maintains local ecosystems.

Read Labels

Choose foods that were produced with the environment in mind by looking for the following labels, seals and certifications:

  • USDA Organic
  • Biodynamic (BDA) for food produced without chemical pesticides or herbicides, using organic, non-GMO seeds
  • Non-GMO Project Verified for foods that were not genetically engineered
  • FAIRTRADE Mark and Fair Trade Certified for food producers committed to reasonable wages and the safe, fair treatment of workers 
  • Climate Neutral Certified for food manufacturers committed to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions
  • Safe Catch for sustainably caught fish
  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) for sustainably farmed seafood
Tick Talk

Spring officially sprung on March 21. We have turned our clocks ahead. We are looking forward to warm winds, sunny skies and the smell of fresh cut grass. The daffodils and tulips have recently bloomed and we are just starting with the yard work that comes with the warmer weather.  Sadly, another season has started ramping up.  Tick season.

•             The best form of protection is prevention. Educating oneself about tick activity and how our behaviors overlap with tick habitats is the first step.

•             According to the NJ DOH, in 2022 Hunterdon County led the state with a Lyme disease incidence rate of 426 cases per 100,000 people. The fact is ticks spend approximately 90% of their lives not on a host but aggressively searching for one, molting to their next stage or over-wintering. This is why a tick remediation program should be implemented on school grounds where NJ DOH deems high risk for tick exposure and subsequent attachment to human hosts.

•             Governor Murphy has signed a bill that mandates tick education in NJ public schools. See this for the details.  Tick education must now be incorporated into K-12 school curriculum. See link:

•             May is a great month to remind the public that tick activity is in full swing. In New Jersey, there are many tickborne diseases that affect residents, including Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, Lyme disease, Powassan, and Spotted Fever Group Rickettsiosis.

•             For years, the focus has mainly been about protecting ourselves from Lyme disease. But other tick-borne diseases are on the rise in Central Jersey. An increase of incidence of Babesia and Anaplasma are sidelining people too. These two pathogens are scary because they effect our blood cells. Babesia affects the red blood cells and Anaplasma effects the white blood cells.

•             Ticks can be infected with more than one pathogen. When you contract Lyme it is possible to contract more than just that one disease. This is called a co-infection. It is super important to pay attention to your symptoms. See link.

A good resource from the State:


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