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Local and seasonal food

Climate Impact:

What you can do

Eat more locally produced, seasonal food.

Who's doing it?

0 people

Climate impact

Decreasing your food miles and out-of-season emissions by 50% would decrease your emissions by around 0.2 tonnes of CO2 each year.  The best way to reduce these emissions is to avoid food that's been flown-in or has been grown out of season in artificial conditions. See impact calculations.

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Additional benefits
  • Eat fresher food

  • Eat healthier food

  • Eat tastier food

  • Support local businesses

Challenges
  • Reduced range of food options

Resources

Tips
  • Look up what fruit and veg is in season in your area before going to the shops.

  • Check where food is from before buying it. If local - check if it's in season.

 

  • Try to avoid air-freighted food. Fast perishing food, like berries, asparagus and tomatoes, are far more likely to have been transported by air than food with longer shelf lives [1].

Facts and further information
  • Food that is out of season, has either been grown in artificial conditions, stored for a long period or been transported from abroad. Artificial heating or cooling to grow food out of season requires a huge amount of energy, as does long term refrigeration. 

 

  • Whilst the transportation of food has a clear and important carbon footprint, food that's grown locally isn't always better for the planet. The production or farming of the food typically accounts for the vast majority of that food's total emissions, so prioritise what you're eating over where it's come from.

 

  • Only 23% of fruit and vegetables eaten in Britain are grown in the UK [2]

Ask the Local & Seasonal group
 
Impact assessment

Emission from 'food miles' are typically thought to account for between 5% [1] and 11% [3] of total dietary emissions.  Emissions from the refrigeration of out of season produce and emissions from growing food in hot-houses is less clear and varies significantly dependent on where you live and what you eat. We have assigned an additional 4% to account for these factors.

The blended total percentage we've used for food transport and out-of-season buying is therefore 11.5% of total dietary emissions. 

Average dietary emissions in the UK are around 2.1 tonnes CO2e/year [4]

Dietary emissions from transport and out of season buying in the UK (11.5% x 2.12tns) = 0.25 tonnes CO2e

A reasonable reduction in these emissions from conscientious purchasing can be considered 75%

Accordingly the reduction in emissions from buying locally and seasonally can be calculated as (0.25tns x 75%) = 0.19 tonnes CO2e

References