Low carbon choices at the table

Posted on September 30th, 2009 by

Here’s some handy information from the folks at the University of California Davis:

Science for Stewardship and Human Wellbeing

Food and Global Warming: The “Hotspots”

What the research tell us…

Highest energy and greenhouse gas emissions are associated with:

  • Livestock-related methane and nitrous oxide emissions
  • Synthetic nitrogen fertilizers
  • Heated greenhouse production
  • Air freight
  • Post-retail, consumer transport to shopping
  • Food waste and multiple points in the supply chain

Eating/ Purchasing Practices leading toward a Low Carbon Lifestyle

  • Eat less meat (ruminants-animals that chew their cuds: cattle, sheep)
    • Reduce portion sizes; get it out of the center of the plate; make it a condiment
    • Eat meat less often
    • Change the type of meat you eat to pork, chicken, fish
    • Eat more whole grains and fresh/minimally processed fruits and vegetables
  • Support farmers using less synthetic fertilizers
  • Avoid foods produced in heated greenhouses
    • Eat foods in season
  • Avoid air-freighted foods
    • Buy those transported by other means
    • Plant a garden
  • Walk, bike, take public transportation or share rides to food shopping
    • Make a list and shop once/week
  • Waste less food or Eat what you buy
    • Compost food scraps

For more information, please contact Gail Feenstra, food systems analyst, ASI, gwfeenstra@ucdavis.edu

  • A “carbon footprint” is only ONE aspect of a more sustainable food system.  Other very important criteria include: Knowing/ trusting the person you buy food from; Supporting local farmland preservation; Taste, quality of food; Ethical dimensions: fair wages paid to farmworkers.

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