5 tips for a greener Thanksgiving

This story originally appeared on HIPCAMP.

This Thanksgiving, give thanks to nature. Here are some tips to make your Thanksgiving and holiday season more environmentally-friendly.

1. Buy Local

Buying local is better for the environment, better for local economies, and better for you. Smaller scale businesses and farms are people-sized—they consume less land, are closer to you, and create less traffic and air pollution than the big guys. Not to mention, buying local helps develop strong economies and communities. Win-wins all around. While this route is more times than not more expensive, even just opting for a few dishes to be locally sourced can go a long way.

You can use LocalHarvest to find local farms, farmers markets, CSAs or grocery stores that carry local produce.

Or, better yet visit any of these LocalHarvest Hipcamps where you can either help out with farm chores, pick your own veggies and produce, or buy produce straight from the source.

Four Springs Farm, South Royalton, VT
Free Verse Farm and Apothecary, Chelsea, VT
Stony Creek Farmstead, Walton, NY
WindStone Landing Farm, Sayre, PA
Too Far Out Farm, Wilson Mills, PA
Earth First Farms, Berrien Center, MI
Philadelphia Community Farm, Osceola, WI
Gosherd Valley, Fredricksberg, MO
Provision Family Farm, Big Rapids, MI
Coldwater Gardens, Milton, FL
Spring Hill Farm, Beaverdam, VA
River Garden Farm, Dunnellon, FL
Sandcreek Farm, Jones Prairie, TX
Walker Honey Farm and Dancing Bee Winery, Temple, TX

tips for greener thanksgiving

Sara Schumacher foraging mushrooms at Tidal Water Front Dock and Cabin, OR.

Thinking past Thanksgiving to the winter holidays, support your local mom and pop gear shop, your favorite home goods store in town, and your neighbor’s daughter’s jewelry business. This will have a way better impact than buying from large retailers or—god forbid!—ordering mass amounts of goods online.

2. Decorate with Nature

tips for greener thanksgiving

Barbara Tulit at Country Bungalow, IN

Leaves, acorns, gourds—they all make beautiful table arrangements. We'll leave it up to Pinterest to go nuts on this one.

3. Limit Your Food Waste

Start with buying less. But, if you love leftovers as much as we do, here are some few tips to spread the (cranberry) sauce. Put out smaller plates—this will be a safeguard when eyes are inevitable bigger than stomachs, limiting the amount of food wasted on plates. Clean plate club = more leftovers for later.

In the upcoming weeks before the big feast, clear out your freezer to make room for turkey, turkey and more turkey. Martha Stewart put together a “Freeze vs. Eat” list for all your Thanksgiving dishes, plus ideas for what to do with them. (Thanks, Martha.)

You can also donate your leftovers to local food drives. Which brings us to our next tip…

4. Give Back to your community

Sign up for a clean-up or restoration project in your community—or plan one yourself. Volunteer at a local food kitchen. Support hurricane and wildfire relief organizations. Donate gently used clothes. Adopt a sheltered animal. Catch up with your neighbors.

5. Make Thanksgiving a Campsgiving

tips for greener thanksgiving

Bryan Collings at Onion River Campground, VT

If you’re feeling up for the challenge, we have all the tools to help you take your Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Vansgiving, Cabinsgiving—whatever you want to call it—outside.

9 Recipes And Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving While Camping
A Thanksgiving Dinner In The Wild
See all camping recipes.

While your in-laws may be not be privy to eating Thanksgiving dinner by the campfire, we can assure you that leftovers taste better in the wild. Get outside Thanksgiving weekend — even just for a short hike or walk around the neighborhood.

Hipcamp is waiving service fees on all camping trips that start between November 23 to 27 to help you get outside, reconnect with nature, and escape the madness of Black Friday. Tell Black Friday to take a hike—use the code FINDYOURSELFOUTSIDE.

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