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Eating good, clean, and rair foods can reduce your carbon footprint. There is a common misperception that access to a sustainable diet is unattainable without stretching your budget. Luckily, this myth is false. Often the low-carbon choice is actually the cheaper one! Anyone, no matter their income, can do their part to be a low-carbon eater. Here are some ways to cook up a better future on a budget:

Eat less meat and dairy.

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This is the single most impactful thing you can do to fight climate change with your fork – while also cutting on cost. The price you pay to eat meat is high – both environmentally and financially. Meat isn’t just the worst climate offender of any food, it’s also the most expensive protein on the market. Beans, legumes, and eggs are cheaper and lower-carbon options. Adding grains with your beans and legumes can satisfy all your protein needs. For more information and recipes, check out our Meatless Monday campaign.

Swap out processed foods for whole foods.

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This is the second most impactful thing you can do to fight global warming with food. Not only is opting to cook your own food a money-saver, but it also cuts back on energy used to process food in industrial facilities. Cooking can be a time commitment, but partially preparing meals on the weekend and making meals out of leftovers can help. Check out your local neighborhood for cooking courses and meal prep classes, and find your inner chef!

Buy local.

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Buying local reduces your carbon footprint and your grocery bills at the same time! Compared to produce grown to be shipped thousands of miles, local produce is not modified to withstand far travels and richer in nutrients. Interested? Sign up for our Eat Local Challenge!

Go to farmers’ markets and co-ops.

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Many local produce items, even organic ones, are cheaper at farmers’ markets than at supermarkets. Look out for “ugly” produce, which usually has some aesthetic flaw like discoloration, for equally nutritious and delicious, but cheaper goods! Talk to your farmers: learn about where your food came from and find advice for cooking with unfamiliar items. Some farmers’ markets even have programs that give SNAP/EBT users a dollar of credit for every dollar spent. 

Food cooperatives are grocery stores owned by customer-members that offer local, sustainable, or natural foods. They often focus on low prices and accessibility for all, and you don’t have to be a member to shop. Many co-ops offer multi-year membership installment plans that require very small monthly payments.

Shop Smart.

Know what to buy in bulk and what to buy in small portions. Opt for buying smaller pieces of produce, as fruits and vegetables today are much larger than a half-cup serving. Other staples can be bought in bulk. The result is less food waste and more savings.

Good luck on your Slow Food adventures!


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