Talking food and climate – recording, tips and resources from our recent workshop

Last week we explored the impact of our food choices in our ‘Talking food and climate’ event, our third ‘Spring Workshop’ from Communities for Zero Carbon Oxford (hosted by Low Carbon West Oxford). We were joined by another great team of experts, Anaïs Bozetine, Replenish Project Coordinator; Susan Hutchinson, LCWO; Ruth Lyster, School Cook at West Oxford Community Primary; and Nina Osswald, Good Food Oxford.

A recording and slides from the event are available on the Low Carbon West Oxford website.

Below is a summary of some of the information and advice from the event.

Carbon emissions on our plate – some facts and figures

  • Food production accounts for about 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • By far the biggest contributor to UK food emissions is agriculture at 40%.
  • 1kg of New Zealand apples accounts for only about 170g of CO2e emissions, compared to 8kg for beef steak, 9.1kg for greenhouse out-of-season tomatoes and a whopping 12kg for hard cheese.

Find out more in “How bad are bananas?” by Mike Berners-Lee.

Food and climate – what can we do?

  • Reduce meat and dairy particularly beef and cheese
  • Eat more plants
  • Eat seasonal, local food
  • Eat less processed food

BUT: growing conditions are significant, and food miles are not necessarily a good indicator of sustainability – e.g. Spanish lettuce might be preferable to UK lettuce during winter months.

Check out some of the resources on the LCON website.

Food waste – some facts and figures

  • 70% of food waste happens at home
  • The average person throws away £210 of food a year.

Tips for avoiding food waste

  • Shopping: shop less, make a shopping list, plan menus, don’t shop when hungry, avoid ‘buy one get one free’.
  • Storing food: use airtight containers, freeze leftovers, store in order of use, check fridge temperature – should be 0-5 degrees; label food before it goes in freezer.
  • Meal planning and preparation: be creative (‘from recipes to guess-ipes), eat skins, stalks and leaves (‘compl-eating’), cook two meals at a time, ‘COF’ supper (‘Contents of Fridge’), store cupboard meals, use leftovers, use spare veg to make soup, measure quantities eg pasta.
  • Serving and eating: cook correct portions, use leftovers, use common sense with ‘use-bys’.

Resources and further information

Find out more at Replenish Oxfordshire.

Putting it into practice – Local projects

Good Food Oxford: Oxfordshire’s Sustainable Food Network

Good Food Oxford is a local food partnership launched in 2014, with over 150 members. Its aims are:

  • To support Good Food businesses – building Oxford’s sustainable food economy
  • To ensure Good Food for all – ensuring everyone is able to eat well every day
  • To help us in Changing our ways – driving behaviours for healthy and sustainable food use, starting with food waste.

Resources and projects include:

More resources here.

Other inspirational projects include the Low Carbon West Oxford ‘Beat the Waste Food Fest’, local apple juicing with Tiddly Pommes, and cookery classes at West Oxford Community Primary School.

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