Thanksgiving at our place _ Flickr - Photo Sharing!Thanksgiving, the most delicious of all the holidays, is coming up quickly. Whether you love baking and cooking, or you simply love to eat great food, there's a good chance that this is one of your favorite days of the year.

Thanksgiving is almost as much about family and traditions as it is about food. For many of us, doing things the way our parents or grandparents did them when we were kids is an important part of the holiday. Perhaps this is why the shift to more earth-friendly habits has been rather slow going for most.

Thankfully, it's possible to green up your Thanksgiving meal while keeping many of those important traditions alive, simply by making a few thoughtful changes. Here are a few things to consider this Turkey Day:

Say No to Factory Farming

Most of our Thanksgiving turkeys come from "farms" where the birds are packed in like sardines and are generally treated with cruelty. Here they are fed a diet unnatural to them (GMO corn anyone?) and many will never see the light of day. These conditions are bad for the birds, for the earth and for anyone who eats these animals. Factory farm operations create massive amounts of water, air and land pollution each year and result in inferior meat with too much fat and too little protein and nutrients.

Instead, seek out a local, free roaming turkey from a nearby farm who lived out its life with minimal environmental impact and ate a healthy, natural diet. Check your local grocery store, whole foods market, farmers market or the classified ads to find free-range options -- you can also buy a turkey online. If you can't find a locally raised (or organic, free-range) bird, you may want to think about going turkey-free this Thanksgiving.

Choose Local, Organic Foods

Veggies, fruits and grains make up a large portion of most traditional Thanksgiving feasts. Choosing organic produce and grains is the only way to avoid adding a cocktail of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and GMOs to your holiday meals.

For example, one of our favorite Thanksgiving side dishes, potatoes, rank among the most contaminated veggies around. Conventionally grown potatoes receive not one, but three, treatments of pesticides and herbicides during their growing process, including a direct application of chemicals after they are harvested to prevent them from sprouting. Simply put, organic may be a bit more pricey but it's totally worth it, especially when it comes to your Thanksgiving taters.

Another important area to consider making changes in is with the dairy and eggs you buy. The benefits of dairy from grass-fed cows is clearer every day. Whether it's milk, cheese or butter, choosing pasture-raised options benefits the animal, the earth and your family's health in big ways. Goat's milk and cheese are excellent alternatives for those who do not consume cow's milk, or are worried about the impact of raising cows on the environment, and free-range, organic eggs are more readily available than ever before.

The nice thing about simply replacing conventional foods with organic options is that you'll be making a major impact without having to change anything about your traditional family dishes! Nobody will even know you've made the switch (unless they notice the improved taste).

Where can I find local, free-range, or organic foods if a local store does not carry them?

Most areas, even small rural communities, will have a whole foods market, farmers market or natural foods store nearby. You may need to drive a bit further than normal, but it's well worth it.

You can also ask neighbors and friends for their recommendations, or search online for local farms, as it is often possible to locate farms that you can purchase from directly.

There are also some excellent websites that can help you locate local food sources, or that sell these healthy foods directly.

Eat Well Guide -- listing of 25,000+ sources of sustainable foods

Local Dirt -- a place to buy, sell and trade local foods

GrassFed Traditions -- buy a free-range turkey and have it shipped to you

Azure Standard -- online natural, organic, earth-friendly food shop

Thrive Market -- natural, organic online food market

There are so many ways to have a greener Thanksgiving. If major food changes seem too intimidating, try making just one or two or incorporate smaller earth-saving steps this holiday (like reducing your paper or plastic waste instead). Remember, when it comes to caring for the earth, every little bit helps.