Meryl Streep has gotten a lot of attention from eco-foodies since the opening of Julie & Julia, a film with slow food themes. But the talented actress has been an eco-foodie activist since the late 1980s. Back in 1988, Meryl Streep contacted the environmental nonprofit National Resources Defense Council and helped create a group called Mothers & Others which successfully rallied for tougher pesticide residue standards!

In an in-depth interview with Wendy Gordon at NRDC’s Simple Steps, Meryl Streep talks in detail about food, health and the environment, revealing both how she eats — and how she hopes American diets will change. Here is Meryl’s grocery shopping advice for better health:

Before you take your food home, you need to consider where it comes from. It’s about being a careful consumer, the thoughtfulness applied to every decision. The idea that your food budget is a really important thing, maybe as important as your cable budget. Maybe you don’t need 20 channels of ESPN. Maybe you spend less over here so you can spend more on healthier, safer foods. Some foods may be more expensive, but they’re cheaper in the long run. It’s all about the long run, in my view.
There you have it: Meryl wants you to put your money towards good, healthy food before springing for premium cable channels — maybe even if some of those channels may play reruns of Meryl’s movies!

For her part, Meryl says she buys mostly local from the farmers market, opts for grass-fed beef (but eats a lot less meat than she used to), and pays close attention to her diet choices. Meryl’s thoughts on money and sustainability seem to have been influenced by her parents and grandparents, whose lives were deeply affected by the Great Depression. In the audio clip below, Meryl shares a story about one of her grandmother’s frugal kitchen habits:

In the interview, Meryl talks candidly, sharing her thoughts on everything from GMOs to the new geothermal heating system in her home. In fact, Meryl often critiques her own lifestyle, putting it to the green test. “I think I live in a big house,” she says when asked how she lives her own life. “The house was not thoughtfully designed.” Find out more about Meryl and her decades-long environmental activism by reading the full interview at Simple Steps.

Meryl Streep: A veteran green activist
More than two decades ago, Meryl Streep took on a green role -- as an environmental health activist for NRDC.