Tuesday, 22 December 2015

8 Ways Your Diet Can Reduce Climate Change

Global Climate March- Prince George, Nov 29
With the world's attention on climate change at the recent COP21 conference in Paris, I thought it may be interesting to look at how climate change and food are related issues. A lot of attention has been spent on the big, bad fossil fuel industry but did you know meat production burns more fossil fuels than all the cars on the road combined? Agriculture itself is responsible for up to 30% of all emissions, so changing the way we eat and think about food can help fight global warming!

But what can you do? Making simple changes as a consumer and eater (which we all are) can go a long way if we act together!
  1. The first thing you can do to reduce greenhouse gases and slow climate change? Lose the meat! I am not saying everyone needs to become a vegetarian or vegan, (but that would be great) but even cutting back to one meal a day with meat can make a big difference! Why not try Meatless Mondays?
  2. Go Local!!! As this blog title advertises, shopping local is the best! Buying local products will reduce transportation and processing associated with imported foods. Check the local section in your grocery store, read labels, or shop at the Farmers' Market! 
  3. Buy Whole foods. They will be less packaged, have fewer additives, be less processed...less can be more and it is overall healthier for you! 
  4. Grow your own food! Why not cut out all those middle people, transportation, and waste and go straight to the source by growing your own veggies? Just $1 in green bean seeds can yield $75 worth of produce! How's that for a money saver and planet saver?!
  5. Eat in Season! Eating in season goes hand-in-hand with shopping locally and growing your own food, and will reduce energy and transportation normally expended on your meals. 
  6. Food Waste is not sexy!
  7. Choose Organic. Organic food is produced with fewer chemicals, no artificial hormones, healthier soils and supports a better agriculture system that can feed the world.
  8. Don't waste it! Throwing out food that has already gone through so much to get to your plate is a travesty.  If after all that production, transportation and manufacturing occurs, food is wasted, we might as well leave our cars running all night long for the rest of our lives, too! Don't throw out the energy, time and resources by buying only what you need and taking leftovers home.
  9. Compost veggie scraps and leftovers. Instead of scraps going to the landfill, they will break down in your home composter and make organic fertilizer to grow your own food! Win-win! 

Vote with your dollars and show how we, the consumers, are the ones in control of the demand and will ultimately fix the broken food system we have created!

In good food,


"Getting the whole food system to change is a seriously big challenge. But one thing is clear: no change in food means no gain in climate change prevention."- Rebecca Wells & Tim Lang

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Guest Blog: Meal Exchange

You can find my guest blog at: MealExchange.com

I was born and raised in Ontario in Ottawa and Toronto where concrete jungles were my playgrounds and food came from packages at the grocery store and we hung out at the mall on the weekend. I loved shopping at the farmers market, biking to work and thrift shopping, but these things were money savers and I never considered my greater impact on the world I inhabited. When I was planning on returning to school I knew I was interested in the environment but I never realized that in a few years my entire life would be changed by studying it. I chose UNBC for its small class sizes, geographic location AWAY from home and because it had a Farmers Market that I thought would be fun to be involved with.

I began volunteering with the University Farmers Market and applied for a position as the Development Assistant. I didn't get the job but soon took on the role of Volunteer Coordinator that I was able to apply as an internship towards my degree. In my second year I was voted in as chair of the Market Committee. Now I am the Market Manager, in charge of the market that inspired my interest in food studies. Working at the farmers market provided me with connections to other things happening in the food system and allowed me to understand the bigger picture issues like food insecurity & food justice. 

I started eating local, ethical foods and thinking about my consumer behaviours. I spent an entire year eating only from the farmers market just to test my resolve and solidify my feelings towards food. This wet my appetite for other works surrounding food on campus. I became involved with the PIRG on campus and was hired as the Local Foods Coordinator organizing a monthly good food box  and sourcing local coffee and eggs. I started gardening at home and soon became the PIRG gardener on campus and started a market stand in the garden over the summer to sell fresh produce to the UNBC community.

I was hired as a coordinator with the Campus Food Strategy Project through Meal Exchange in 2014. I now had a network of food activists at my disposal and it was great to connect to something larger than our little campus. This has launched me into a research project on food insecurity that I am just sinking my teeth into. We were also able to start a food recovery program on campus rescuing food from the cafeteria and donating it to meal programs in the community. Since we began we have saved over 2000 lbs. of food and are looking at other strategies to build a campus food bank and expand the program to other campus's across Canada.

Who would have thought this city slicker from Toronto would morph into the die hard foodie she is today. Nearing the end of my degree I begin to worry about who will take my place here on campus. Having taken on so many roles I worry I will not be able to find interested students to continue the work that I have stewarded during my time at UNBC. But I know whoever takes over will have a wealth of information to take on from mine and my predecessors experiences and from the connections of our national network of dedicated students with Meal Exchange.

In good food,

Melanie XX

"Without food, we cannot survive, and that is why issues that affect the food industry are so important. " - Marcus Samuelsson