Eat season: good for carbon reduction and your wallet
Eat more seasonally has numerous benefits. Perhaps the most enjoyable is taste, but it can also save you money and help cut carbon. This post looks at why eating seasonally is more important than eating locally when it comes to carbon.
Eating seasonal is better than eating local
If you haven’t tasted fresh corn, then you’ve never really tasted corn. Today I want to talk about the benefits of eating seasonal food. But first up, I just want to point out that in terms of carbon emissions, it’s much more important to think seasonally rather than locally. Food emissions are typically dominated by the production phase – normally more than four-fifths of emissions come from this. In contrast, just around ten percent of emissions come from the transport phase, and only four percent from final transport. Let’s take an example of a Spanish tomato eaten in the Swedish winter.
Air freight footprint is 10 times bigger than ships and rail
Although it has a big transport footprint when compared to ones grown locally in hot houses, it actually has a tiny footprint overall. If you are interested in tackling your food miles, ships and rail freighter goods have very small footprints. Trucks slightly larger but air freighter goods have massive footprints. So seasonal food has lower emissions, it’s often cheaper, and more importantly it just tastes better. If you take the example of something like corn, the second you pick it the sugars inside the corn start turning to starch and becoming less sweet. If you’re interested in eating more seasonal fruit and veg then i highly recommend getting a calendar and sticking it on your fridge. You’d be amazed how easily this can remind you what is in season and what isn’t.
Good recipes will enhance seasonal flavors
Finally, I thought we’d look at four recipes from food 52 that highlights some of the best of seasonal cooking. When I used to live in holland, asparagus season was a big deal. And this absurdly addictive asparagus is just delicious with the pancetta in there. For summer we’ve got a sardine fennel and tomato linguini. I love Italian food and this one is an absolutely smashing recipe. For autumn I’ve gone for an old classic in terms of a savory spiced pumpkin soup. There’s nothing better on a cold autumn evening. And for winter this one pot and quinoa pilaf is just amazing. I hadn’t eaten it before last winter but it’s really something special. You should try it.
The whole thing about seasonal food is that it just tastes better when it’s grown, picked, and eaten at the right time of year. Join us tomorrow when we rediscover the art of aimless walking.
I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.
I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas. I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.
When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.