I was feeling quite smug about this, our 4th Carbon Conversation, after all, I’ve been a vegetarian most of my life and as a shopper, I use the local community garden as much as possible for veg. I pick brambles from local waste land; have soft fruit bushes in the garden and recently converted some of our garden lawn into raised beds. Gold star for me! Not, I hasten to add CC is about competition but I did feel I was, at least, out of the starting block with this one! All the above, of course, is great for reducing my CO2 emissions on food but things got a bit murkier when, as part of the ‘home activity’, I was asked to keep a food diary which broke the food I ate into four categories: production, processing, packaging, transport.
What I discovered, once I began this way of looking at food items, is that it wasn’t always obvious where the food originated from, as on the packaging the only information might be ‘non-EU’. Other complications for me was buying organic and I was horrified to discover I’d bought some organic garlic from China. Why hadn’t I noticed this while shopping? I guess, I was focussed on the organic bit of the label. I also like to buy Fairtrade products but, items like tea and coffee, often come from very far afield. Bread from Latvia, surely, there’s a local baker I could have used? Ice-cream from France? Why not a local Scottish firm? Agh…not looking so clever now!
This is where I found the Carbon Conversation Handbook, again, so very, very helpful! I untangled myself, stopped feeling so guilty about my rather careless shopping basket and decided on one change, apart from reading the label a bit more carefully. I patted myself on the back for my vegetarianism – one of the best ways ever to reduce CO2 – and decided to look at my intake of dairy. Oaty Barista milk, turns out to work brilliantly in coffee, (without giving it that horrible curdling effect). I still enjoy cheese, I just cut it a little finer. Healthier for me, I think and that seems to be the message of this chapter: healthier food choices are invariably good for the planet.