Food Systems

The food we consume contributes to climate change. The production, packaging, and transportation of food uses energy and results in the emission of green house gases which threaten to raise average global surface temperatures. The food system is responsible for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. However, not all foods are equal. Some foods, such as beef and cheese, are carbon-intensive, and other foods, such as lettuce and tomatoes, can be high-carbon products when they’re not in season and have to be shipped a long distance. Eating whole foods that are less processed and grown locally is not only healthy for you and your family, it is also a means for reducing green house gas emissions. Use the resources below to learn how to reduce your carbon ‘foodprint’ and to help promote a more sustainable food system.


What’s your dinner’s carbon footprint? Use Bon Appetit’s Low Carbon Diet Calculator to learn how much green house gases are emitted in the growing, processing, transportation, and preparation of common foods. The site also offers tips for minimizing one’s “foodprint,” education links, and a fun photo quiz that asks diners to choose which sample meal offers the lowest total of green house gas emissions on their plates.

Center for Food Safety’s Cool Foods Campaign. Take the Cool Foods pledge and do your part to stabilize the earth’s climate by being more thoughtful about the way you eat. The site also provides information about the connection between agriculture, food, and a stable climate.

Nourish is an educational initiative from WorldLink, designed to open a meaningful conversation about food and sustainability using PBS television, curriculum resources, web content, short films, and teacher/youth seminars. Visit this site to learn about concepts, such as “food miles” and how to reduce your carbon footprint through your food choices.

The PBS Special, Food and Community, is a film that traces our relationship to food from a global perspective to personal action steps and illustrates how food connects to issues such as biodiversity, climate change, public health, and social justice.

Take a Bite Out of Climate Change Campaign is a project of the Small Planet Institute. This site provides 10 easy steps to a “climate-friendly” diet and provides links to an expert directory, fact sheets, and other action campaigns.


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