Addressing Climate Change with Local Food

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Local food is a powerful tool for improving health, local economies, social justice, and the environment—especially climate.  It is one of the most positive, effective, and enjoyable ways of addressing climate change, and can readily engage all people in your community in this effort.

What Can You Do?

Reduce greenhouse gases by eating more sustainably:
  • Eat local and choose from farmers using organic practices, building soil, using energy and water wisely, & restoring biodiversity.
  • Eat foods in season—keep the exceptions just that, not the rule.
  • Grow as much of your own food that you can.
  • Strive for near-, certified-, or beyond-organic foods—not perfect but the best way to protect soil, water, wildlife, ecosystems, and thereby the climate.
  • Avoid industrial meat and dairy products.
  • Avoid foods shipped by air, excessive packaging, and unnecessary shopping trips by car.
  • Store food at home as energy-efficiently as possible.
  • More at Climate Friendly Food Systems and Choosing Good Food.
Learn how you, or the farmer you buy from, can improve soils to hold more carbon, water, and fertility—and use water and energy more efficiently:
Improve local, state, and federal policies so local sustainable food systems can thrive
  • Consider the health of your local foodshed including surrounding ecosystems: Map Your Local Foodshed
  • Observe indicators of foodshed health and monitor for changes: Monitoring Your Local Foodshed
  • Submit observations of weather, pollinators, birds, etc as Citizen Scientists to learn and contribute to solutions: Observing Indicators of Foodshed Health
  • Adapt your local foodshed and food system to be climate-adapted and friendly: Adapting Your Local Foodshed
    • Include local food in your local climate planning.
    • Include climate change in your local food planning and assessments.
    • Include climate and local food in city and county planning.
    • Include local food as a restorative tool in environmental planning.
  • In cases where “climate change” is not an easy subject to discuss, try other pathways:
    • Engage people in simply monitoring weather, seasonal changes, drought, birds, etc—climate change will become apparent.
    • Make the focus on protecting wildlife and restoring biodiversity in soils, in farms, ranches, and gardens, and in surroundings—again, climate change will become apparent and most solutions are the same: Addressing Biodiversity with Local Food.

Connecting the Dots Between Food and Climate in Your Community (pdf): Jim Dyer’s perspectives from our local EPA Project with suggestions for a community-based program to use local food and sustainable production to fight climate change.

More Complete List of Strategies

See Potential Measures List for producers, consumers, processors, policymakers, etc.


See our Climate Change Impacts, Mitigation, & Adaptation page