Carbon

climate change: a change in global or regional climate patterns, in particular a change apparent from the mid to late 20th century onwards and attributed to the increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels.

The relationships between food and climate change are complex:

  • There are so many sorts of food (from lamb to lettuce, from bread to bananas)
  • Each can be produced in different ways (lettuce in heated greenhouses in winter or in your garden in summer) and in different places (lamb from a hill farm a few miles away to lamb from New Zealand)
  • Food can be transported in different ways — by air freight or by sea.

The food we eat accounts for 30% of the UK’s carbon footprint.

carbon footprint: the total quantity of greenhouse gasses, released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organization, or community. Carbon footprint relating to food is often referred to as carbon foodprint. It consists of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrious oxide from burning fossil fuels during food production, storage and transport. Carbon dioxide is also released from land use/land use change, methane from livestock digestive systems and waste disposal in landfill sites, and nitrous oxide from the application of nitrogen fertilisers in agriculture.

There are many ways to reduce your individual carbon foodprint. Climate Challenge Fund provides the following rules of thumb:

  • Reduce the amount of food that is wasted, for example, by using leftovers and planning meals
  • Eat less ‘high carbon’ food, and more ‘low carbon’ food, such as vegetables and cereals
  • Eat food that is in season
  • Less processed and less travelled is generally better

The Tayport Community Garden project focuses on:

  • Increasing local food production by Tayport residents by increasing area of ground used for food production at (also see Grow section):
    • Tayport Community Gardens site
    • their own gardens
  • Raising awareness of climate change and practical ways of reducing carbon foodprint, with main focus on low-carbon food growing skills (also see Learn section)
  • Reducing use of cars by Tayport residents related to food shopping and by promoting walking and cycling
  • Reducing waste of local apples by making use of them
  • Reducing waste and encouraging recycling of gardening tools and books through a library scheme

Our funder, the Climate Challenge Fund, is a Scottish Government programme which provides funding for community groups that are tackling climate change through local community-led projects. They want to see that our project is making a difference in our community by reducing carbon foodprint in Tayport.

The carbon foodprint savings are estimated by asking growers at the Tayport Community Gardens site and Grow@Home participants to weigh the produce grown on the additional area put under food production during the project. For details on how to get involved and submit your data see Grow@Home section.

We would also like to see if the project influences your food and travel habits. Please help us by filling in simple forms whenever you take part in our activities. We are also looking for participants who would like to become ‘case studies’, and share their experiences in more depth, for example, through our project blog. We think this would help us learn from each other and provide excellent motivation!

Note: All the definitions and statistics in this section are based on the materials provided by the Climate Challenge Fund (PDF).