Cutting your carbon footprint with food

Have you ever calculated your food mileage? Food miles represent the distance that food travels from the farm to your plate.

The average Canadian meal travels an estimated 1,200 km from farm to plate, which significantly contributes to our carbon footprint because longer transports create more emissions. And the longer the commute, the more food that is spoiled en route.

By contrast, buying whole foods at your local farmers market versus packaged goods that have traveled long distances to your grocery store supports your local economy and growers.

There are many ways to tackle waste reduction in our day-to-day lives using food. Here are three tips to give your monthly budget a boost while reducing your ecological footprint:

1. Choose local

Food wastage often occurs during transport, so the shorter the distance from farm to plate, the better. Keep an eye out for local produce which is generally allowed to ripen longer without being picked. This also means better tasting produce and added nutritional value.

Find a B.C. farmers’ market near you for the best seasonal produce.

2. Buy in season and save for later

Stocking up when supply is high means prices are generally lower. Consider what can be frozen for future use. Blueberries are a perfect fruit to freeze to add to smoothies and to baking come the cooler months. Find what’s in season in your area using these charts and act swiftly to save money with local u-picks.

3. Compost if you can

At my condo complex, we have two communal compost bins. When the compost is ready, it’s distributed to residents for personal gardening and also to the property’s landscapers. If you’re a gardener, turn your green waste into a usable commodity that is environmentally friendly. Chances are if you live in a shared residence that there are a few more green thumbs who’d be keen to start a shared compost. Added bonus: connecting with your neighbours and not having to purchase compost to better your soil.

If your building has green waste collection, you may even save more money on shared expenses if your building pays for its collection based on weight or volume.

Check out my first and second blog posts for more tips on cutting waste and saving money, and happy ECO-nomizing!

 

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