Our world has changed this last year, and one of the biggest changes is the complexity behind what used to be a pretty simple task: going to the grocery store. Before we continue, we want to first express our gratitude to the grocery store workers who have been on the frontlines for a year now.
There have been many moments during this past year to pause and reflect about what is working in our lives or where there are places we can make a change. With that in mind now is a good time to rethink grocery shopping habits.
One way to lower your carbon footprint is to buy local foods. Look for the signs on produce at the supermarket that is marked local and choose that when you have the option. Not only are local foods saving emissions resulting from transporting them long distances, they use less packaging and are fresher. See if you can taste the difference.
Processed food in the United States travels more than 1,300 miles on average to reach consumers and produce travels more than 1,500 miles from the industrial farm to the plate. They also contain a lot of additives and preservatives.
If it is an option for you, choose organic. Not only is it free from pesticides, but organic soils are a much more stable and sustainable system that capture and store carbon dioxide at much higher levels than soils at conventional farms. We could remove 580 billlion pounds of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere if we all grew all corn and soybeans organically.
A great place to purchase fresh, local and organic food is your local farmers market where you can buy directly from the source. Foods are usually transported shorter distances when arriving at the Farmers Market and according to the Farmers Market Coalition, three out of four farmers who sell at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards.
If it is a challenge to find organic produce in your community, keep in mind it is still extremely beneficial to eat fresh produce that is not organic. If it is a challenge finding fresh produce in your community, food banks or food pantries may have excess or donated produce.
These are just a few quick tips to lower your carbon footprint when grocery shopping, but check out this great clean grocery guide for even more tips. Stay tuned because next week we will discuss another way to access fresh produce and will give some tips…
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