How seasonal fruits & vegetables add value by reducing carbon miles?
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are those which are grown locally & native to that particular geographic area or topography.
For example, mangoes are seasonal fruits growing in warmer climates. On the other hand, mulberry or apples require a slightly colder climate — higher altitudes.
We all love having a variety of produce and spread on our tables. However, there’s no denying that eating seasonal and local is not just great for your health but the environment too.
Worldwide, there are approximately 13.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) emitted through the food supply chain per year.
In fact, research shows that eating locally grown produce can drastically reduce carbon footprint.
How? Let’s get into a little detail:
Fuel & transportation
In fact, in the U.S. about 13% of greenhouse gas emissions happen because of transportation of food — adding to the increase of average carbon miles!
No doubt that when you transport food from one place to another, petroleum-based fuels are used. Many fertilisers too are also fossil fuel-based. You can reduce the carbon footprint of your food by up to 7% by eating locally.
Besides, transportation — storage also requires electricity. This in turn results in more CO2 emission. Have you ever tried eating an apple/peach right off the orchard? It just tastes decadent, sumptuous and so juicy!
The same fruit — after covering a journey of thousand miles loses its flavour. The crunch is gone, taste changes, etc. But the worst thing — the storage uses up so much fuel or electricity.
Fruits and veggies need to be stored at a cooler temperature to retain their shelf lives. Hence, cold storages consume a whole lot of energy — which in turn adds to the carbon footprint.
Another problem is growing food that is not local to the area. Growing food in a non-native climate needs a hothouse which also uses power.
Hothouses are basically a heated greenhouse where plants that need protection from cold weather are grown.
Besides this, if you are growing food from a warmer climate in colder areas and vice-versa — you need a lot of fertilisers. These fertilisers in turn produce harmful CO2e gasses.
Meat adds to the emission too
Research shows that livestock production contributes 14.5% to 18% of all GHG emissions. The diet of meat lovers has 3.3 tons of GHGs while a vegetarian’s carbon footprint is lower at 1.7 tons GHGs.
So how can you contribute to reducing carbon miles?
- Eat more local of course — which means fresh, healthier veggies & fruits!
- Avoid processed foods as they are totally adding to the carbon miles and calories!
- Opt for vegetarian if possible
- Most importantly, don’t waste food
All of these efforts are not only good for you — they also impact the environment, because it makes you healthier and eliminates the carbon footprint of your stove.