Looking to reduce your carbon footprint? One of the best places to start is by changing the food you buy. The food in grocery stores often comes from other countries, even other continents. It’s estimated that the average American meal travels 1,500 miles before it reaches our plates (1). That means that, worldwide, food transportation adds 250,000 tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere every year (2). But don’t worry, you can still enjoy your favorite foods while minimizing the environmental impact of your eating habits. Here’s how:
1. Shop at a farmer’s market. Locally-grown foods mean a shorter distance from the farm to your table, and fewer fossil fuels used in the process. Not only can you reduce your own carbon footprint, but you can support businesses in your community that sell eco-friendly foods.
2. Grow your own fruits and vegetables. If you have a backyard, planting a garden can be a great way to save money while helping the planet at the same time. Beans, strawberries, carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes all grow well in the Pacific Northwest climate, as well as many more staples.
3. If you don’t have a backyard, find a community garden near you: https://communitygarden.org/find-a-garden/. Community gardens can provide you with healthful food all year round.
4. Track your food miles. Look at food packaging while you are shopping, and try to choose products that are made locally, or as close as possible. If you want to track the number of miles your food has travelled to reach your home, check out http://www.foodmiles.com/
5. Eat produce that’s in season. Out-of-season produce has to be imported from different climates, whereas in-season produce usually comes from nearer by.
6. Walk, bike or take the bus to the grocery store.