Burgers and grilling go hand-in-hand, especially once summer rolls around. And with Memorial Day weekend considered the unofficial start of summer, it's only fitting that National Hamburger Day would fall on the Sunday before Memorial Day - which will be here sooner than you think!
The Trouble with Hamburgers
We Americans definitely love our burgers. Unfortunately, our love has come with a high price tag - including environmental destruction and poor animal welfare. Conventional meat production - especially beef - is incredibly resource intensive. This is because, in an effort by large meat processing companies to produce food as cheaply as possible, hundreds or thousands of animals are crowded into feedlots, fed grains that took a lot of water and fertilizer to produce (and that cows aren't even supposed to eat in the first place) and given antibiotics to prevent diseases contracted because of their stressful and crowded living conditions. In addition, the overabundance of manure produced by feedlots causes significant pollution in local waterways.
Friends of the Earth and Turning Green's Better Burger Challenge wants to transform the iconic, resource-intensive American hamburger into a force for better health, environmental sustainability and animal welfare, as well as provide new opportunities for independent family farmers and ranchers.
How to Participate in the Better Burger Challenge
- Eat a better burger (including all veggie patties and veggie-beef blends):
- Make your veggie burger with certified organic veggies, legumes and grains. You can find some tasty veggie burger recipes in the Meatless Monday Veggie Burger eCookbook.
- Replace at least 30 percent of your beef burger with mushrooms, veggies or legumes. The money you save can be used to purchase better grass-fed or organic beef from animals raised humanely on pasture using regenerative practices.
- Host a better burger party:
- Whether it's National Hamburger Day, Memorial Day, July 4th or beyond, host a better burger party with your friends and family!
- Become an advocate for better burgers:
- Enlist your local and favorite restaurants to serve tastier, healthier, better burgers, and enjoy them whenever you eat there.
Our local foodsheds are vital. Food does so much more than give us energy, and our food choices have the power to do good - to protect the environment, fight disease, boost moods and bring people together. Conversely, they have the power to cause great harm. With your help, we can transform the iconic hamburger into a force for a healthier, more humane and more environmentally responsible food system.
Check out the Better Burger Challenge and make better burgers.