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Eat Seasonal

Eat Seasonal

Powering hothouses and flying food around the world uses a lot of energy. Eating food produced during its natural season can reduce your household’s carbon pollution and result in tastier, healthier and cheaper meals.

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WHY

Growing fruit and vegetables out of season and transporting food from one side of the world makes a significant contribution to carbon pollution. By eating seasonally you can reduce your carbon pollution by as much as one tonne each year.

There are other benefits too. Locally sourced seasonal food often has more flavour than food that has been picked early, stored and transported across great distances. Being left on the plant for longer means fruit and vegetables can absorb more nutrients, making them even healthier.

HOW

Work with the seasons

This step is about eating food that is seasonal in your part of the world. Remember that different parts of the world experience different seasons at different times. Begin by finding a food chart calendar that helps identify when particular fruits and vegetables are in season in your region and use it as inspiration for planning your meals.

Think about the journey

Check the labels on your food for the country of origin. The further it is from you, the more carbon pollution was created in getting it to you. Foods with a shorter shelf life are more likely to have been flown in, resulting in even more carbon pollution.

References

Eating seasonally can save up to 1 tonne of C02

Berners-Lee, M (2010) How Bad Are Bananas?

Food left on the plant means more nutrients

New Nutrition Science Project

Impact metric calculations:

By eating food that is in season, cold storage of fresh produce is not required. If food is eaten out of season, we have assumed that 3 months of cold storage is required.

The carbon footprint of various food types both in season and out of season was taken from the following sources:

Apples: Mila i Canals et al 2007

Oranges & Strawberries: SAI (2009) Carbon and Water Footprint of Oranges and Strawberries

Bananas: FAO: World Banana Forum, 'Carbon footprint of the banana supply chain'

Carrots, peas, and potatoes: RD&T (2012), 'Carbon emissions from chilled and frozen cold chains for a typical UK Sunday roast chicken meal'

We use this data to find the average difference in emissions between in-season and out-of-season fruit, taking into account the average serving size of each type of fruit, and assuming that they are all of equal popularity. We then carried out similar calculations for vegetables, assuming a ratio of 50:15:35 in popularity for carrots: peas: potatoes.

We assume that the average user making this pledge eats a healthy 5-a-day diet, consisting of 2 portions of fruit and 3 portions of vegetables.