Food, climate and health

Why food?

Our diet has a big impact on our carbon footprint – food production produces a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Recent studies suggest that animal products account for more than half of food-related emissions. Good Food Oxford and LCON have teamed up to make it easy to eat for health, taste buds and planet.

‘Talking food and climate’ – workshop recording and slides

In spring 2021, we collaborated with other low carbon group as part of Communities for Zero Carbon Oxford, to offer a series of workshops on different aspects of climate action. ‘Talking food and climate‘ was hosted by Low Carbon West Oxford and explored how diet and food choices impact the climate, what resources are available and how we can reduce personal impact.

The workshop included contributions from 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 are available on the Low Carbon West Oxford website and a summary is available here.

Sustainable eating in a nutshell

Our handy infographic summarises the best ways to eat sustainably and healthily. Stick it on your fridge as a reminder.

Get started

1. Eat more plants and less meat

Plant-based diets have been proven to improve health and can cut food-related greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70%!

How to start Try eating more veggie meals each week. Try these protein packed vegetarian recipes, from our 2017 Midsummer Supper event at Vaults & Garden.

If you do one thing Cut down on red meat consumption. It has a far larger carbon footprint than all other food.

Did you know? Nearly half of North Oxford residents are trying to eat less meat. Read more about our research here.

2. Waste less

The average UK household wastes £470 of food a year, and one third of global food produced (and therefore the associated emissions) is wasted.

How to start Try to plan your meals ahead, stick to a shopping list and have fun with leftover recipes.

If you do one thing Check out for recipes and tips.

3. Quality not quantity

The average person eats over 1000 calories more than the recommended amount every day – bad for emissions and health.

Buying from no further afield than Europe can reduce your GHG footprint by 8 – 13%. Sourcing seasonal, local and organic will also reduce your carbon footprint.

How to start Check traffic light nutrition labels and swap processed food for fresh, seasonal produce.

If you do one thing Buy close to home instead of flown (check out our local food directory here)

Ready for more committed sustainable eating?

There’s a list of local suppliers here – support your local businesses!


Sustainable Diet Research Review
This background report summarises key research on sustainable diets and ways to change eating behaviours.
The good news is that research has consistently shown that the best diets for the planet are the best for your body too! Win win!

The top ways to eat healthily and sustainably:
1. Eat fewer animal products and more plants
2. Waste less
3. Eat the correct amount, and source closer to home, seasonal and sustainably grown.

Some key (and often surprising!) findings about Britain’s food:

      • Of 13 different common diets, vegan and ‘go gently on the cheese’ vegetarian are the healthiest and most sustainable. An average UK diet and one with too many calories are the least healthy and sustainable.
      • £1 invested in Local Food returns £7 to society in the form of social and economic outcomes including health and well-being, training and skills.
      • Portion sizes have consistently risen over the last few decades, and research indicates that people struggle to identify correct portions sizes.
      • The average household wastes £470 of food each year, rising to £700 with children.
      • We have also identified a range of tools to help you achieve a healthy and sustainable diet, including an online calculator which gives a carbon and nutritional breakdown of the foods you input.
      • The majority of British people say that animal welfare, sustainable fish and ethical products are important, but far less actually buy products which reflect this.
      • The majority of British people value and also purchase British produce and healthy produce.
      • 40% of young men agree that red meat is bad for you, 25% of people expect to be eating no meat by 2025
      • Regardless of income, household purchases do not match recommended government dietary guidelines

Food in North Oxford Research
This report summarises North Oxford’s demographics, current food landscape and relevant local research and initiatives.

    • There are over 20 initiatives working on healthy, sustainable food in North Oxford
    • North Oxford is majority white British, well-educated with above health and above-average income.
    • North Oxford recycle more food than the Oxford average
    • There are five local veg box schemes which deliver to OX2.
    • We mapped over 160 food outlets in OX2 6, OX2 7 and OX2 8.