Globally food accounts for over one fifth of all carbon emissions or equivalent. In Ireland one third of our emissions are produced by agricultural. How we use food and the type of food we consume impact on emissions as does the source of our food.
Household in Ireland are estimate to waste one third of food purchased. Food waste in the catering sector can also be very significant. Avoiding food waste is a measure we can all take for Climate Action. Effective avoidance of food waste involves:
· Good meal planning
· Care when shopping to only purchase what we need
· Get storage right for different foods
· Use up foods in a timely manner before use by and best before dates
· Cook only what you need measuring amounts and portions
· Don’t serve to much on the plate
· Make good use of leftovers using the fridge for shorterm storage and freezers for later use.
For more information on how to avoid food waste at home check out here . Advice on how to avoids food waste in the business sector can be found on here www.savourfood.ie
Thinking about where our food comes from and the resources used to produce it can help to reduce the climate impact of the food we eat. Local produce is the best way to go where possible. Wicklow County Council has developed a food strategy to encourage local food production and businesses. The Wicklow Naturally campaign aims to get local food products onto our shelves and into businesses that can make use of our local produce. Buying more local food is better for the environment while also assisting local economic development. Wicklow Naturally is telling the story of Wicklow produce here and providing support to local producers.
Growing or producing some of our own food is also good sustainable practice. Recent years has seen a big growth in people reconnecting with producing food. Activities including growing fruit and vegetables, keeping hens or bee keeping have all seen strong interest. Anyone can grow some produce with even a balcony offering scope for some salad or small fruit and a smaller garden taking a fruit tree. There are many good resources available on line for those looking to learn more but a good place to start is here www.giy.ie .
Good diet and more sustainable practice around food work in tandem. Eating more plant based foods and less refined food is better for our health and the environment. Better planning of our meals and diet can also help us to avoid food waste. Bothe the HSE, here and Safefood Ireland here offer good advice and resources on diet.