It seems perfectly logical to start with organic, in-season, locally grown food. This addresses the importance of reducing the transportation distance from the farm to your supermarket and minimizing or eliminating the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. However, foods grown in climates and soils that are naturally most suited for their production can have a much lower environmental impact than local products grown under artificially enhanced conditions, even if they’re shipped across great distances. There are other factors to keep in mind to ensure that you’re reducing the carbon footprint of the food you consume:
- irrigation requirements
- methods of harvesting, processing, preservation and storage
- minimal packaging, or at least reusable and recyclable packaging
- climate and growing season
- mode of transportation (air, water, rail, etc.)
- fair trade and sustainable agriculture practices
Your method of cooking can negate all the effort you put into sourcing your food, if you’re not conscious of the energy and water consumed in its preparation.
Finally, coming soon to a supermarket near you— a carbon label for your food products.