The Community Farm: Climate-friendly tips for foodies

Drone view of The Community Farm
Tom Richardson

Tom Richardson from The Community Farm writes our latest blog about The Farm’s new campaign to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). The campaign focuses on how to choose food that’s better for the planet.

As world leaders continue discussions in Glasgow for COP26, our fingers are crossed for large-scale and meaningful action. But as a food business we know that we also have a role to play in addressing the climate crisis. In fact, the food industry is one of the largest contributors to our changing climate.

Food production, transportation and packaging across the industrialised food system emit huge amounts of greenhouse gases and food production is one of the primary causes of deforestation. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The food system can be regenerative; not only minimising its impact but giving nature space to flourish, helping restore biodiversity and locking carbon up in the soils.

Here at The Farm we are doing all we can to deliver delicious, climate-friendly food that nourishes people and planet. Our veg boxes are local, seasonal and organic and we work hard to minimise food waste and packaging. Plus, all of our profits go back into helping local people and wildlife. We know we’re not perfect and we’re constantly working hard to improve, but we’re doing all we can to bring about a regenerative food system in the local area.

During the UN climate change conference, we’re running a campaign to raise awareness about the impact of our food choices and the easy things we can all do at home to eat in a way that’s better for the planet, while still serving up delicious and nutritious grub. Here are our top tips:

Feed mouths not bins

8% of all global greenhouse gas emissions come from food waste, so preserving and serving what we have (rather than growing, transporting and packaging more) can make a big difference. Think pickles, jams, chutneys. Get creative. And don’t forget your freezer! Take a look at Bristol Bites Back Better resources and activities designed to fight food waste in the city.

Let’s talk dirt

Most veg doesn’t need packaging to stay fresh. Keep your root veggies muddy and they’ll last for longer. Stand leafy greens in water and they won’t flop over. If you do get packaging, re-use or recycle.

Taste local

Local food needs less transportation and packaging to make it from the field to your front door. It also tends to be fresher which means it will last longer. Explore the wonders of farmers’ markets, greengrocers and veg box schemes. Find out more on the ‘Support Local’ section of the Bristol Bites Back Better website.

Less and better

Meat has a big impact and lots of us are trying to cut down. But not all meat is created equal. If you do eat meat, buy local and pasture-fed. It also helps to eat smaller portions. If you’re using mince, try mixing in lentils or beans and a little can go a long way.

Nature knows best

Non-organic farming uses chemicals which release greenhouse gases when they’re produced and when they break down. If the whole of Europe moved over to agro-ecological food production, agricultural emissions could drop by up to 45%! Those same chemicals also disrupt biodiversity and the Earth’s natural processes which are vital for keeping our climate cool. Trust that nature knows best and buy organic!

Box not bag

Buy a veg box and you’ll get local food, plenty of veg, minimal packaging and a system that helps farmers minimise food waste. They’re usually organic and you’ll be supporting a small, local business that really does care.

Shout all about it

Pass on your pickles; share stories of better meat; serve up home-grown goodies. The more people thinking about food that’s good for the planet, the better. Set the trends! Spread the word!

Find out more on The Farm’s website at thecommunityfarm.co.uk and read about The Community Farm’s “Lessons From Lockdown” here on the Bristol Bites Back Better blog.

By setting the wheels in motion now, together we can transform the future of food in our city, building in resilience over the next decade. So, what change do you want to see happen that will transform food in Bristol by 2030? Do you already have an idea for how Bristol can make this happen? Join the conversation now.

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