Reducing our carbon footprint with the food we eat

by | 14 February 2021 | Environment, Sherwood

When it comes to the food we eat, we can make choices that will reduce our carbon footprint. Here are a few things that we can all change that will help:

Grow your own
You don’t need much space, even a window box or patio area will allow you to make a start.

  • If you have a garden you can grow all your own vegetables and even have fruit trees.
  • You could apply to your local council for an allotment and grow not only for your own consumption, but also to give to all your friends and family.
  • If you have the time but you are not sure what to grow or how to do it, you could volunteer at a community garden – you’ll learn a lot (and often get to share the spoils).

Buy local
If you can’t grow your own, at least by buying locally grown food the distance the food has to travel is shorter so carbon emissions are reduced.

  • Many villages, towns and suburbs have local farmers’ markets, but if not try signing up for a veg box.
  • Why not support your local greengrocers and reduce plastic waste instead of buying pre-packaged items from the supermarket?

All of these options will mean you’ll be eating food that’s in season, and tastier too.

Waste not
After the war, when food was rationed, we grew up with the maxim ‘waste not want not’, reminding us that wise use of one’s resources (such as not wasting food) will keep one from poverty. In the UK we throw away a colossal 4.5million tonnes of food a year which, according to Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), could have been eaten. But luckily, there are simple ways to reduce food waste:

  • Make a plan and only buy what you need, don’t shop without a list.
  • If you have more than you need, you can pickle it and in doing this you can save glass jars from the recycling as well. Or take a similar (but sweeter) route and preserve with bottling, jams and cordials.
  • Freeze what you are not going to use. You can freeze more things than you think – from bananas to butter.
  • Composting: If you have outdoor space, those vegetable peelings could also go towards compost. Use it to grow more veg, and the win-win cycle continues.

Eat less meat and more vegetables

You may not already be aware that farming animals creates a lot of emissions. And, in some cases, it also takes up a lot of land, which could be filled with plants and trees instead. Even if you don’t go 100% vegetarian, and it isn’t for everyone, just by reducing your meat consumption you will still cut carbon emissions, especially red meat.

  • Why not put vegetables centre stage? Take a leaf out of the vegetarian recipe books, and make delicious mostly-plant-based meals at home.
  • Buy better meat and support your local butcher, that way you can also reduce the use of single plastics. Choose cuts that go further – a whole chicken to roast is way more economical and less wasteful than just buying legs, for example.

If we all save as much as we can, we help with the fight against climate change.

For more information about Sherwood Forest Friends of the Earth, they’re on Facebook at Sherwood Forest FoE, or email
Pauline Meechan