Eat Local – Buy Local – Grow Local – Sell Local

Climate Change

Guidelines to a Climate Friendly Diet

  1. Eat with the Seasons – Choose food grown close to home.
  2. Shop Local – Farmers’ Markets, u-picks, farm stands & local shops.
  3. Cook Fresh – Cook with fresh ingredients as much as possible.
  4. Eat Lots of Plants – Fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes & grains.
  5. Grow Your Own – Try the 100 yard diet – start simple with a small garden plot or containers.
  6. Savour the Harvest – Dry, freeze, can, preserve, pickle and more.
  7. Choose Local Alternatives – Use honey & maple syrup in place of sugar, and choose local options for high-emission foods such as meat, dairy & eggs.
  8. Avoid Food Waste – Reduce, re-use and recycle leftovers to avoid refrigerator rot.
  9. Take Back the Tap – Tap water is safe, inexpensive and climate-friendly.  Kick the bottled water habit!

The Guidelines in Detail

Eat with the Seasons – Choose food grown close to home, which in Ontario means asparagus in May, strawberries in June, apples in September and root vegetables in January.  Many foods are available year round.  Look for what is grown locally and across Ontario.

Tips—Check out seasonal availability charts from Grown In Peel www.growninpeel.ca or Foodland Ontario www.foodland.gov.on.ca.

Shop Local – Shop at Farmers’ Markets, Pick-Your-Own, On-Farm Markets, Farm Stands and local food shops (bakeries, butchers and specialty)—they all have fresh grown local foods.  At grocery stores, look for Foodland Ontario, Homegrown Ontario and other indicators of local food.  At restaurants look for, and ask about what they have on their menu that is locally-sourced.

Tips—Look for signs of local food and always ask questions if you are unsure about the origin of food.  Use an outing to a farm as a recreational activity or education for all family members. Visit www.growninpeel.ca or www.eatlocalcaledon.org for listings of local farms.

Cook Fresh – Processed foods are high-greenhouse gas foods because they create a lot of emission through preparation, transport, packaging, and waste.  Decreasing consumption of prepared foods will decrease your contribution to these emissions.  Learning to cook fresh will also reduce your consumption of  chemical preservatives and other additives, thereby leading to a healthier diet.

Tips—Cook  with fresh ingredients as much as possible.  Try new recipes regularly. Take a cooking class to learn some new skills.  Cook double meals on weekends and freeze extras for easy weekday meals.

Eat Lots of Plants – Increasing consumption of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, breads and cereals is healthy for you and for the climate.  Look to balance meals using the Canada Food Guide to ensure the right mix of food groups.

Tips— Consume 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.  Experiment with new recipes that incorporate more vegetables, beans, nuts and legumes.  Try Meatless Mondays!

Grow Your Own – The most climate friendly food is the food that you grow yourself—the 100 yard diet.  Gardens can be grown in containers, existing beds or even inside.  The key is to start small and build confidence.  Food always tastes better fresh from your garden.

Tips—If you are new to vegetable gardening, start with an herb pot, lettuce box or tomato planter and add from there. If you already have a veggie garden, try cold-frames to grow greens almost year-round.  To enjoy a backyard crop year after year, plant a fruit tree, berry bush or other perennial crop such as rhubarb or asparagus.

Savour the Harvest – Preserve the fresh harvest of the summer months by canning, preserving, pickling, freezing, drying, dehydrating and more.  The effort is worth it in the winter when you can pull homemade strawberry jam or homemade tomato sauce from your pantry cupboard.

Tips—Organize a canning bee during the harvest season with friends or family members. It is more fun when you pool resources and do it as a group.

Choose Local Alternatives – Many of the foods we commonly use have local, natural alternatives.  Honey and maple syrup can be used in place of sugar in many recipes.  Ensure high-emission items like meats, dairy and eggs are locally produced in order to cut down on your household’s ‘foodprint’.

Tips—Go to local shops or markets to find local goods, or find farm products at www.growninpeel.ca or www.eatlocalcaledon.org.

Avoid Food Waste – In 2007, 38% of all food available for retail sale went to waste—that is 183 kg of food per person!  Not only is that a lot of wasted food, it is a lot of wasted energy!  A decrease in food waste throughout the system would result in an equivalent decrease in energy emissions.  Individuals should endeavor to use all the food they buy, thus eliminating refrigerator rot.

Tips —Freeze leftover vegetables to make soups.  Use leftovers in casseroles, stews, soups, curries, bread puddings, quiches… etc.

Take Back the Tap – Tap water is the climate-friendly choice, and it’s safe (Ontario has some of the highest drinking water standards in the world) and inexpensive.  Commercially-bottled water, on the other hand, wastes fossil fuels in production and transport.  Kick the bottled water habit!

Tips – Bring a reusable BPA-free water bottle with you wherever you go, and fill up with local tap water as needed.  Keep one in your purse, knapsack and car so you will never be caught empty-handed!