What you eat can have an enormous impact on your carbon footprint: although it is a complicated subject and it is easy to get confused by all the labelling and factors to consider. To keep it simple: only buy what you will eat, reduce your food waste, but if you must throw food away, make sure it is composted to manage the methane emissions, and finally, any time that you can choose a more plant-based option, the climate and future generations will thank you. For more detailed ideas, inspiration, recipes and tricks, read on…
Vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian, every plant based meal makes a difference.
Grow Greener Food
Planting just a few seeds starts something magical…
Reduce Food Waste
Make the most of your leftovers and don’t waste your money or the planet!
Plant Based Powers
From climate change to forest fires to human rights abuses, the global industrial meat industry is damaging and unsustainable: a key step in reducing your carbon footprint and improving outcomes for nature will be a dramatic reduction in the world’s consumption of meat and dairy. Watch this quick video for an overview of the link between food and climate change (5 mins) and this one which asks, “what if everyone in the world went vegan?” (3 mins).
Still not convinced? This interactive tool from the BBC lets you find out the environment impact of the foods you regularly eat. Have a play!
Going fully vegetarian or vegan is a big step, and every meal makes a difference, so this BBC article here is a useful introduction on the benefits of being flexitarian vs fully-plant-based.
If you prefer to listen to information, check out local food writer Becky Alexander on this Radio Verulam podcast talking about Eating More Plants or this video “Change the World in Your Lunchbreak – easy tips to make your lunch more eco friendly” (44 mins).
Worried you won’t get enough of the ‘good stuff’? The Vegetarian Society has a wide range of fact sheets on nutrition for both vegans and vegetarians, guides for families and teens, and on the environmental impacts.
There are so many great book books and websites to get inspiration from:
- Invest in a new cookery book if you need a couple of new ideas for evening meals. The Green Roasting Tin, Bosh!, and One Pot, Pan, Planet are great books for creative vegan and vegetarian meals.
- Local author and food writer Becky Alexander has written the Green Lunchbox.
- Find recipe videos on YouTube from BoshTV, Anna Jones, and far more.
- Find all the BBC Good Food recipes here.
- And the Meat Free Monday recipes here.
Grow Greener Food
Growing your own food anchors you to the seasons, can help to engage the family in eating more fresh produce and is sure to guarantee you don’t waste a scrap of your hard-earned harvest!If you want to get started, we have resources to help from first-person blogs to links to local community groups. Local gardeners have also shared tips and tricks in our videos too.
If you’re not quite able to grow your own yet, think about eating seasonally. It’s cheaper, makes the most of abundance and prevents unnecessary shipping of produce around the world. This blog summarises the benefits and a few places to find it, such as Carpenters and Smallford. Some produce is seasonal at the St Albans and Harpenden farmers markets. Veg boxes are another alternative. Some specialise in local food, others in organic food, and others on ‘waste’ food so check the details and think about what matters most to you.
Want to get growing?
There are schemes around St Albans where you can pitch in and have a share in the spoils such as Food Smiles (where you can decide how much you pay and / or work for your seasonal produce) as well as community growing schemes detailed below. If you think you might progress to your own allotment then get your name on a waiting list for one near to your home:
- St Albans allotments and Highfield Park
- Harpenden allotments
- Redbourn allotments
- Wheathampstead allotments
- London Colney allotments
Our open food gardens are a great place to start where you can see what’s possible in all sorts of spaces.
Incredible Edible St Albans
‘Incredible Edible’ gardens are based at the Civic Centre and in Russell Avenue, with free food to pick and take home! Anyone who lives, works or plays in St Albans is welcome to be a part of them, and the gardens are always open during daylight hours. The team encourages residents to explore, to harvest food when ready and to help keep them tidy.
Grow Communities in St Albans
Community food sharing is a way to support people to grow their own food at home and in community spaces.
We are very proud that two Grow Community projects thrive in St Albans: Grow Community Sopwell and Grow Community St Michaels. These projects help local people grow their own food, celebrate and share food – and come together to build a stronger local community.
Food Smiles St Albans
FoodSmiles is a Community Benefit Society, based in St Albans District, which encourages people to grow and eat more sustainable local food through building a community of food-growers. FoodSmiles regularly host open days at their site in Harpenden.
Reduce Food Waste
One of the simplest ways to reduce your carbon footprint and save money is to simply not throw away food that you’ve purchased. It sounds ridiculous when written like that, but British households throw out up to £700+ worth of food each year. This wastes the energy it has taken to plant, nurture, grow, harvest, transport, package, sell, store the food, not to mention the additional cost of collecting, processing and disposing of the food and any packaging.
The simple steps are to plan what you buy, shop with a list, store carefully and then eat what you have before buying more.
Resources abound including local Hertfordshire’s #WorthSaving project and the established Love Food Hate Waste. Both of these offer recipes, ideas, challenges and resources to help you save money and shop differently.