We need food to survive. We also need a safe an healthy environment to provide us with food. Without food we would all die and without an healthy environment we would not be able to eat. This is all very simple…. however, we need to be a bit more mindful of the environmental impact of what we eat. The manner in which our food is produced, harvested, stored, packaged, transported, prepared and eaten all have environmental impacts that are in many instances contributing to the degradation of our environment, which is counter productive considering that we need the environment to provide us with food.
The fact that we all need food and all eat at least once a day (those of us who are food secure) means that by simply introducing one or two (preferably more, but something is better than nothing) environment friendly habits to your eating habits you could contribute to a healthier environment and also a healthier you!
The quickest way to green your eating habits is by focusing on reducing the food miles, carbon emissions, pesticides, wastes, and packaging associated with the food you eat. A few simple tips are:
- Buy and eat seasonal fruit and vegetables that are preferably organic, pesticide free and locally grown.
- Stay away from over/ unnecessarily processed foods such as pre-chopped veggies or peeled and sliced oranges? Processing and storage involves energy and emissions so if you don’t really need the processed food don’t buy it!
- Reduce food waste. Only buy and prepare as much as you eat. Less waste less pollution and less costs!
- Buy your food in packaging that is either recyclable or reusable or try and stay away from unnecessarily packaged food. Individually packaged fruit and vegetables is wasteful and unnecessary. Do we really need individually wrapped oranges/bananas/ onions etc?
- Reuse your shopping bags.
- Grow your own fresh fruits, vegetables and or herbs? This will save on production and transportation and storage costs which will in turn result in fewer carbon emissions.
- Recycle your food waste by having a wormery or composter. You can use the nutrient rich “worm tea” and compost in your garden.
- Buy local produce. This reduces transport related emissions (food miles) and also supports the local economy.
- Eat less meat, this reduces your GHG emissions.
Some informative links on the above are:
Food and waste: http://www.eateco.org/Waste.htm#Wasted%20food
Food miles: http://www.i-sis.org.uk/FMAS.php