Your “food footprint” is part of your ecological footprint and sustainable food strategies have social, economic, and environmental impacts. Food’s carbon footprint is the greenhouse gas emissions produced by growing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking, and disposing of the food you eat. There are many environmentally friendly food choices that can improve your own food footprint.
Some foods demand more water, fertilizer, pesticides, and energy for their production than others. Meat, eggs, and cheese have the highest carbon footprint while fruit, vegetables, beans, and nuts have a lower carbon footprint. Below are a few tips to reduce your carbon footprint to help preserve the environment.
Eat vegetarian: The carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet is about half that of a meat-eater.
Studies have shown that vegetarians have about half the “foodprint” of meat eaters. If you don’t want entirely to give up meat, just cutting back can shrink the footprint of your diet by one-third. LEARN MORE!
Cook at home: Preparing meals at home is a great way to improve the health of you and your family because you can control the amount you make and eat and halve your carbon footprint. Meal planning also reduces food waste and you can be creative with leftovers (recipes to follow!).
Eat organic: Organic farming methods (for both crops and animals) have a lower impact on the environment than conventional processes. If you can’t always buy organic, The Environmental Working Group offers a “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce” that may help you navigate the food aisle.
Shop local and wisely: Where you shop may impact your food’s carbon footprint. A weekly trip to the supermarket is a habit of many, but shopping in bulk a few times a month for non-perishable items and using a local market for fresh foods can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Food is important to our ecological footprint and changing the foods you eat can have a big impact on the environment. By choosing food that has less packaging, has not traveled a long distance and has been produced in a sustainable way, you can help reduce your carbon footprint.
Quote of the week:
Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. – Gandhi
Recipe of the Week
Whole-wheat Pasta Primavera with Fresh Mozzarella
This recipe is so easy to make, and you can use any fresh vegetables on hand (even leftovers!).
½ pound whole wheat penne pasta
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon fresh minced garlic
½ small red onion, sliced
1 large zucchini, quartered lengthwise then sliced into ¼-inch thick slices
1 large fresh tomato, diced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or no-salt organic seasoning)
Fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste
Fresh Mozzarella or grated parmesan cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (1 Tbsp salt for 2 quarts of water). While the water is heating, prepare the vegetables. Cook the vegetables while the pasta is cooking so they are done about the same time.
Once the water is boiling, add the pasta to the water and follow directions on package. Cook uncovered at a vigorous boil. Drain, but reserve ½ cup of the pasta water.
Heat 2 Tbsp of the olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions begin to soften.
Add zucchini and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes on medium high to high heat, until almost cooked through. Add the cooked pasta, fresh tomato, pepper, and salt, and toss until coated with vegetables. Add some of the pasta water if desired and toss again. Top with fresh mozzarella or grated parmesan cheese.