People talk all the time about making a small carbon footprint on this world. The talk about how one can reduce their carbon footprint by using less water and taking shorter showers, using energy efficient LED light bulbs, carpooling to use less gas, and much, much, much more. So how can one reduce their carbon footprint in relationship to food? Well, I recommend eating as locally and as fresh as possible. Here are some easy tips to reduce your carbon footprint in relation to your food:
• Eat Local Products: When we eat locally grown food, we use less gas and energy. For example: less of a commute from the farm to the market equals less gas used. Have you ever thought how much energy and gas it takes to transport a banana from Ecuador? In addition, buying from local farmers means supporting local businesses. Supporting local businesses is a great way to improve our community and our local economy.
• Eat Fresh, Eat Whole: Eating fresh means eating foods with minimal processing. Buying whole foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables, reduces the energy used when compared to the energy used from buying certain packaged products. When we eat more fresh products, more whole products, and foods with shorter shelf lives, we can actually decrease our carbon footprint because of the reduced amount of packaging used and the reduced amount of energy used from the testing of the various additives, preservatives, and added chemicals.
• Finding food from your local farmer’s market is the number one recommendation. Check out this website from the USDA to find a local farmer’s market around you simply by typing in your zip code. Or check out this website from Local Harvest to find which produce is produced in what region.
• Also, to read more about going green and reducing your carbon footprint, check out Kate Geagan’s book, “Go Green, Get Lean.” Kate Geagan is an amazing dietitian who has been labeled as America’s green nutritionist. She has many fantastic tips to offer and she reminds us of the importance of knowing where our food comes from and living locally.
The above photo is me picking strawberries at a local farm: Swanton Berry Farms: Coastway Ranch.
By Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN