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Sustainable food

We all affect the environment in many different ways - traveling, heating our homes, even the type of food we eat.

Using local, organically grown and vegetarian food has a smaller impact on the environment, and will benefit local economies. A diet that relies on imported produce that uses lots of fetilisers and meat, contributes to CO2 emissions. The food industry produces 31 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, changing what you eat and where it comes from is a great place to start helping the environment.

Providing quality food in camp-based CISV programmes is important. Camps represent a physical and psychological challenge for all children, youth, and adults involved. Therefore, a balanced and healthy diet contributes to a Camp’s success. But it can be hard to supply sustainable meals on a budget. Thanks to CISV members we have started to put together some sustainable recipes. Cooking just one sustainable recipe can help make a difference to the environment.

Make your programme the most sustainable ever - tips for camp cooking, using environmentally friendly food.

Background reading
What's for dinner - explains why we should try to eat less meat.

The six rules of sustainable food:

1. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables
The livestock industry accounts for eighteen percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. It takes ten times the fossil fuels to produce a calorie of meat, than a calorie of plant food. Eating less meat is also beneficial for our health. Today's typical meat consumption is over one kilogramme per week, but nutritionists recommend eating only 600 grams per week. So eating more fruit and vegetables is better for the environment and your health. If you eat fish look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label which means it has been caught sustainably.

2. Organic is best
Organic farming doesn't use chemical fertilisers, and has higher animal welfare standards.

3. Follow the seasons
Fruit and vegetables grown in heated greenhouses outside their natural seasons require high amounts of energy or have to be transported from far away, causing high CO2 emissions. Regionally and seasonally sourced food has a much-reduced carbon footprint.

4. Eat locally produced food
Transporting food by land, air and sea produces CO2 emmissions which add to the greenhouse effect creating climate change.

5. Fresh not frozen
Refrigeration uses lots of energy. Dried grains and pulses can be stored for a long time without losing their nutritional value.

6. Plan how much you’ll need
By planning how much food you need, you are less likley to waste. Don’t throw out leftovers, find ways to make them into another meal (on average, each German throws away 80 kilogrammes of good food every year.)
More information

Oxfam - food for thought
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