Seasonal eating reduces your carbon footprint

Jennifer Donovan once again shares her sustainable journey with us from her property in Perth's hills. With her family she is exploring the simple life and the hands-on joys of minimising her carbon footprint.

Jen's 5 top tips for Seasonal Eating

So, why bother eating seasonally and how does this help reduce your carbon footprint? Well, when a product sits up there on the shop shelf, it has had to travel from somewhere to get there, and often be stored before transportation as well as upon arrival. It may have had a very long life. It makes sense that something local or even better, fresh out of the ground, is going to be fresher, tastier and have a higher nutritional density that something that has come all the way from Mexico!
photo by Deanography
Here are my top tips on how to ensure you have the freshest, most local, seasonal and tasty produce.
  1. Buy growing plants – like fresh potted herbs. Even if they only last a couple of weeks they are definitely fresh and will add some greenery to your kitchen.
  2. Where to shop - Find your local fresh fruit and vegetable markets and shop there. Chances are the market food is from local growers which, as we have mentioned, means it will have travelled less distance to get to you which has the double bonus of reducing your carbon footprint! (Think energy spent on transportation, fuel and the logistics involved in shipping food to Australia from Mexico.)
  3. Where is it from - If you are in a supermarket to buy fruit and vegetables, check the labels and look for “Made in Australia”. A really tricky one is asparagus. Once I started looking at labels in depth, I noticed my asparagus usually came from Peru! It has been tough but we have made a choice to only cook with asparagus when it's in season, like now! We look forward to it, it becomes a special food and it's cheaper when it is in season too.
  4. Do your research -Websites such as Seasonal Food Guide are a great guide to what's in season all over Australia; there's a list of seasonal produce you can download, and a list of farmer markets too! Ripe Near Me is also great for local produce to buy, share or sell. See if you can find your own ways of tracking down the freshest seasonal produce.
  5. Grow your own! As soon as you look at planting guides you will begin to see exactly what fruits and vegetables are grown in your immediate area and when they produce their beautiful fruit vegetables or even flowers.

Our Grow Your Own adventure…… so far

One of the reasons my husband and I chose to move to our five-acre block in the Perth hills was to become as self-sufficient as possible and reduce our carbon footprint, and this includes growing as much of our own food as possible.
photo by Deanography
While I dream of a big poly tunnel, we've had to take this journey, like all journeys, one step at a time. One of the first things we chose to invest in when we moved to our property was fruit trees. We ordered these as bare root trees in Spring from our local friend who owns a nursery. We chose to do this first because we knew they would take time to establish and bear fruit. Now, a few years in we have been lucky enough to harvest a mango and a handful of mulberries. We also have regular crops of herbs and basic vegetables such as kale, rocket and lettuce in our backyard veggie garden which we've cobbled together with recycled timber for now, with plans to organise something more permanent later. Do you try to eat seasonal and local? Does it really taste better? What's the weirdest item you've found in a supermarket from the other side of the world? I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences whether you're at the very beginning of your journey or part way through. Please feel free to share in the comments section. Yours in great health, Jennifer Further reading
  • Seasonal Food Guide
  • Ripe Near Me
Jennifer is a Biome blogger and we enjoying sharing her stories with our greater community. If you would like to join our blog program, simply go to our Green Living Guide and contact Tracey for more information.  
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