Esther hears that the food we eat can help the UK become carbon neutral

A local astrophysicist believes Covid-19 could help in the country’s fight to be carbon neutral – after people start showing an interest in where their food comes from.

Professor Sarah Bridle believes people are changing their eating habits due to Covid 19 and eating more locally, which in turn will reduce the carbon footprint.

Speaking to Tatton MP Esther McVey on a podcast, Prof Bridle based at Jodrell Bank, said: “There has definitely been an interest in locally produced food, veg box companies have seen demand rise and now have waiting lists and there has been an increase in people wanting to grow their own foods, and people wanting to get in their gardens and do something constructive.”

Prof Bridle thinks these choices will help lower the carbon footprint as people learn what fruits and vegetables are in season and how those out of season are sourced. Strawberries have a very short shelf life and out of season are flown into the UK, whereas exotic fruits with longer expiry dates can travel by ship, which she said, “is not really a big problem on climate change.”

Prof Bridle is part of the Take a Bite out of Climate change project, made up of researchers across the UK, who are trying to educate people on how food contributes to climate change including coming up with fun ideas for families to calculate how different meals they eat impact it. She would like to see a return of carbon footprint details on food packaging as tried about ten years ago by one of the supermarket giants.

Prof Bridle said: “I think there is a much more increased awareness about the importance of food choices. What is happening has made us more aware of our fragility of living on this planet, and maybe there is an opportunity now to avoid potential crises in the future, work together locally and hopefully globally to reduce the impact we are having on climate change.”

Ms McVey said she hopes people continue to shop locally in a post-pandemic era as Covid-19 has brought communities together. 

Ms McVey said changes to eating habits needed to consider the importance of the local farming industry and hopes more people will eat locally grown food and source their meat, fruits and vegetables as locally as possible, to help local farmers and businesses as well as the environment.

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