With global temperatures rising and greenhouse gas emissions reaching record highs, there’s an urgent need to tackle the climate crisis. The world remains woefully off track to meet the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C and reaching net-zero emissions globally by 2050. The time for climate action is now.
But what can workplaces and employees do to make a difference? Well, food production is responsible for almost one third of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Everything that we eat matters, and how it’s grown, produced, and transported matters even more. Climate action can happen in the workplace simply by encouraging employees to grow some of their own food – be it herbs on the office windowsill, or radishes grown in pots on desks – and enabling them to learn how to live a more food sustainable life.
Here are a few ways that employees can cut their carbon footprint by growing your own food.
1: cut-down food miles
Our food creates more GHG emissions the further it travels. Air transport racks up typically about 50 times more emissions than shipping, and about 10 times more emissions than road transport. To make matters worse, food transported from across the world will need to be refrigerated and stored on its long journey. So, if you grow as much of your own food as you can, consider the amount of emissions you’ll be cutting down on.
For those who have yet to begin their growing journey, you can still cut down on food miles by making one easy change – start supporting local producers. This is an easy switch, with multiple benefits. By buying local you can support your community, cut your carbon footprint AND enjoy the very best tasting food, which has been grown seasonally and likely without the use of fertilisers and pesticides.
2: more plant-based diet
Diets with a high intake of red meat have a higher carbon footprint than plant-based diets, due to the significant methane emissions generated by cattle. Our over-reliance on meat products has led to alarming environmental impacts, including biodiversity loss as a result of land-use change for agriculture.
But, by growing your own fruit and vegetables, you’ll be more likely to follow a plant-based diet. In fact, you’ll be a whopping 50% more likely, according to our research. This is a result offood empathy, which if you haven’t heard of by now, is where the knowledge gained from growing your own food encourages you to make more sustainable and healthier choices. Following a plant-based diet doesn’t mean cutting all meat from your diet – you can still cut your carbon footprint by choosing sustainably sourced meat products and eating more plants.
3: less food waste
Food waste is responsible for 8% of global GHG emissions. That means we’re emitting tonnes and tonnes of unnecessary carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen dioxide into our atmosphere for food that ends up in our bin. Food can spoil at any stage along the supply chain, but the largest amount is produced within our homes.
However, according to our research food growers are 40% more likely to avoid letting almost any food go to waste (probably because we know the hard work, time and resources it takes to grow the food we eat). Start by growing something simple – lettuce and salad are easy to grow and just so happen to be the most commonly wasted food in Ireland. If you’re anything like us, your growing journey won’t stop there – the more you grow, the more food waste you cut down on, and the more you’ll cut your carbon footprint.
So, the more food you can grow yourself, the healthier the planet will be. And together we can all make a difference.
How to get your workplace growing:
GIY’s GROWCircle programme is designed to inspire employees to make more sustainable food choices at home and in the workplace. This 6-month employee wellness and engagement programme includes a bespoke launch event, monthly webinars, and premium access to the GIY app with in-built team challenges and leader boards, to create a shared experience among your teams.