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#FoodForClimate Social Media Challenge Recap

Bow Valley Climate Action

Below is a lookback on the April 17th-30th #FoodForClimate social media challenge that we ran in collaboration with the Bow Valley Food Alliance.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 1: What is your “food”print?

Today is the first day of our Food for Climate social media challenge! Over the next two weeks both BVCA and the Bow Valley Food Alliance will be posting daily resources on our Facebook pages about how the food we eat impacts the climate, and what we can do about it! Answer the daily question in the comments of either original posts to be entered in a draw for one of three gift cards to local restaurants @NourishBistro @kaintayo.
Globally, about 23% of human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come from agriculture, forestry and other land uses. In both Alberta and Canada as a whole, agriculture accounts for just over 8% of our total greenhouse gas production. So what does this mean? To act on climate change, we need to think about the food that we eat!
We can all make a difference by thinking critically about how what we eat and where we source it from contributes to climate change. A “food”print is a term used to describe the environmental impact of your food, including the amount of GHG’s (e.g. carbon dioxide and methane) it contributes. Check out the @BBC’s Climate Change Food Calculator to see how many kilograms your favourite foods are expected to contribute to your annual GHG emissions per year based on a global average: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46459714

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 2: Seasonal Food

Buying food that is seasonal means that it is consumed shortly after being harvested. This means there are likely less GHG emissions from the transportation, storage or processing of the food, and it tastes fresh!
In Southern Alberta, our growing season is short, but it is fast approaching! Here is a great list of when to watch for seasonal foods in store and at the Banff Farmers Market or the Canmore Mountain Market : https://www.thespruceeats.com/alberta-fruits-and…

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 3: Affordability & Climate Change

Eating food with a low overall GHG impact does not have to be expensive! @BanffFoodRescue in Banff and the @foodrecoverybarn in Canmore are two fantastic community initiatives that take food from grocery stores and restaurants which would otherwise be wasted and distribute that food to the community. The best part is that getting a bag of food costs just a $5 donation! Visit their Facebook pages to learn more and to sign up to volunteer.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 4: Food Waste

In 2022, the National Zero Waste Council conducted research on household food waste in Canada, and the results were astonishing. 63% of the food Canadians throw away could have been eaten.
One behaviour change that can reduce food waste at home is planning! Thinking ahead, whether it’s just meal planning for a week or buying groceries in bulk at power Tuesdays (or a buying club) can help not only reduce the amount of food waste but also your grocery bill!
Another way to avoid wasted food is to cook with food scraps! From making your own stock out of scraps to pickling stems, there are lots of creative ideas out there. This video gives some inspiration on how to cook with food scraps: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7N6Af-14b4
@lovefoodhatewastecanada has lots of other food waste reduction strategies on their website: https://lovefoodhatewaste.ca/about/food-waste/

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 5: Eating lower on the food chain

Eating food lower on the food chain can help to reduce the GHG impact of our food. Take beans (“pulses”) for example: they produce very few GHG emissions per 100 grams of protein, and can be found near the bottom of the below chart.
Pulses (beans and lentils) are low-cost, healthy and very affordable sources of protein. Did you know that 2016 was the UN International Year of Pulses – focusing on how they are a nutritional seed for a sustainable future?!
This is not to say curbing food-related GHG emissions is to simply stop eating meat, because the solution is not that simple. Harvesting country food from the land for example, has been practiced for time immemorial, and is a great source of nutrition and cultural connection, along with contributing lower GHGs than other sources of meat. The idea of eating lower on the food chain is simply a way to be able to consciously reduce the GHG impacts of store-bought foods.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 6: Happy Earth Day!

In the spirit of the #FoodForClimate challenge, we plan to cook some delicious, low-carbon meals today. Share in the comments below the link to a recipe that you think might have a low impact on the climate.
For some inspiration, here are a handful of climate-friendly recipes from eco-conscious restaurants around the world: https://www.theguardian.com/…/eat-well-nutrition-grass…

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 7: What is a food system?

A food system includes all the aspects of feeding and nourishing people: growing, harvesting, packaging, processing, transporting, marketing and consuming food.
Various levels of GHG emissions are released at different points in our global food system. Knowing about our local food systems, including how and where food is produced, can help to connect us to the food we are eating and understand its climate impact.
Knowing where food is grown or farmed is one example of this. You can find a list of farms in Southern Alberta here: https://albertafarmfresh.com/find-a-farm
And watch Alberta Open Farm Days for the announcement of farm tours happening later this year!

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 8: Composting

Did you know? Environment Canada did a study where they found that for every one tonne of food scraps diverted from landfill and sent to composting, one tonne of greenhouse gases are avoided. That is the equivalent of taking your car off the road for an entire year!
Fortunately, in the Bow Valley we have compost bins so you can avoid GHG emissions from unavoidable food waste by dropping your food scraps off at one of these white bins.
Find the closest compost bin to you here:
Canmore: https://canmore.ca/…/residential-food-waste-collection
Banff: https://static1.squarespace.com/…/CompleteStationsMap.pdf
But what happens to these food scraps after you put them in the compost bin? Watch the video below to hear from Shannon about how your food scraps become compost in the Bow Valley.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 9: Meat

In Canada, methane emissions from cattle contribute to 40% of agricultural emissions, which means that 3.3% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada are from cattle.
Cattle are ruminants, meaning they have four stomachs instead of one. When digesting food, it ferments and creates gases like methane, which is a greenhouse gas that, over a 20-year period, is up to 80 times more potent at warming than carbon dioxide. More information on this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-FuSQuW5tk
Researchers in Canada are trying to find ways to reduce the methane emissions released by cattle, but for now, one way to reduce the carbon emissions of your meals is to eat less beef.
It should be noted that meat sourced directly from a rancher/farmer (grass-fed beef) will have a lower carbon footprint than beef cattle ‘finished’ in a feedlot, due to differences in livestock and soil management practices.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 10: In the Community

Today we are highlighting a new business in Canmore, The Co+Kitchen, owned and operated by Yuka Ozawa, a community leader with a passion for food.
Kickstarting your own low-carbon food business might be easier than you think: the Co-Kitchen is a fully equipped commercial-grade kitchen space in Canmore for food start-ups to use in the Bow Valley.
We asked Yuka “What does sustainability look like in your kitchen?” Here is what was said.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 11: Gardening

Eating locally is especially easy when you grow your own food! The Banff Community Greenhouse and the Canmore Community Garden are examples of community spaces where residents can grow their own food. Be sure to check them out if you haven’t already!

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 12: Municipal Action

Have you heard of the Town of Banff‘s Zero Waste Trail campaign? The project is helping businesses and residents reduce food waste going to landfill. Its goal is to divert 1,500 tonnes from landfill per year–that’s the same as 35,273,962 banana peels. And what is one way to divert this waste? You guessed it, composting!
Hear from Carla Bitz about what the Town of Banff is doing to reduce food waste here: https://youtu.be/j7HgZAxpF9g
Visit https://www.banffzerowastetrail.ca/residential to learn more about how you can take the Zero Waste Trail.

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 13: Local Food

Local food is often defined in quantitative terms related to geographical distance and/or in relation to the economy. However, when we talk about ‘local food,’ are we talking about Indigenous Food Systems?
Indigenous Food Systems look differently across Turtle Island. Here in Treaty 7, they revolve around the Buffalo, which has been the local food since time immemorial. The BVFA’s Food Charter values local food systems that are based in resiliency and the Buffalo as a cultural and ecological keystone species, including communities’ ability to hunt, harvest, gather and grow food as well as advocate for change.
Learn more about the Buffalo: A Treaty of Cooperation, Renewal and Restoration and the Bow Valley Food Alliance’s Food Charter by visiting: https://bvfa.ca/food-charter

#FoodForClimate Challenge Day 14: Final Day of Challenge

Climate change is closely tied to our food system. What we eat impacts the climate and the climate in turn impacts what we eat. While this challenge shared resources for how personal choices can impact the climate, there is a whole other dimension that can be explored about how, if we don’t act now, climate change may completely alter our existing food system as a result of extreme weather, rising temperatures, and increased pests, to name a few. If you want to learn more about this topic, you can start by reading: https://news.climate.columbia.edu/…/climate-change…/
But what we do as individuals makes a difference, and it is up to us to work to create sustainable communities and contribute to a stable climate. We hope this challenge has encouraged you to think about the actions you can take to reduce your “food”print and about the resources in the Bow Valley that can help you to do so.
You have until 11:59pm tonight (April 30th) to go back and comment on any original posts you might have missed on either our or @bowvalleyfoodalliance’s Facebook page, to increase your entries into the draw for more chances to win one of three 100$ gift cards! Winners of the draw will be contacted tomorrow over Facebook messenger and will be announced later next week! Thanks everyone for participating.

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