Good Food Oxford promotes an environmentally sustainable food system. In particular, our activities acknowledge that food waste has massive implications for environment and equity, and work towards reducing food waste in Oxford. We promote and build on existing initiatives in Oxford and Oxfordshire to go further in creating a zero waste culture, reaching out to business and the 99% of people who currently don’t think about how to eat for the planet.

Oxfordshire Initiatives and Resources

Food Waste Reduction 

General Sustainability

Eco-Friendly Eating

Our diet has a big impact on our carbon footprint – Oxford’s food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the city’s cars. [Ref]. Good Food Oxford teamed up with Low Carbon Oxford North to make it easy to eat for health, taste buds and planet.

LCON food poster
Sustainable Eating in a Nutshell: Stick this infographic on your fridge as a reminder about the best ways to eat sustainably and healthily.

If you’re interested in finding our more about how you can eat food that is healthier, better for the environment and better for your pocket, the WWF Livewell Principles are a good place to start.

Three simple things you can do to get started

1. Eat more plants and less meat

The carbon footprint of vegetarian or vegan meals can be up to 70% smaller than meals containing meat. Plant-based diets have also been proven to be better for health. 

  • How to start: Try eating more veggie meals each week. Try these protein packed vegetarian recipes, from our Midsummer Supper event at Vaults & Garden.
  • If you do one thing: Cut down on red meat consumption. It has a far larger carbon footprint than all other food.
  • Did you know? Nearly half of North Oxford residents are trying to eat less meat. Read more about our research here.

2. Waste less

The average UK household wastes £470 of food a year, and one third of global food produced (and therefore the associated emissions) is wasted.

  • How to start: Try to plan your meals ahead, stick to a shopping list and have fun with leftover recipes.
  • If you do one thing: Check out lovefoodhatewaste.org for recipes and tips.

3. Quality not quantity

The average person eats over 1000 calories more than the recommended amount every day – bad for emissions and health. Buying from no further afield than Europe can reduce your GHG footprint by 8 – 13%. Sourcing seasonal, local and organic will also reduce your carbon footprint.

  • How to start: Check traffic light nutrition labels and swap processed food for fresh, seasonal produce.
  • If you do one thing: Buy close to home instead of flown. Check out our local food directory here, or find a market or veg box scheme near you here.

Further eco eating resources

Carbon and nutrition

  • Database of carbon footprints and protein contents of meat and meat-alternatives. Includes portion sizes and (where available) source location.
  • Database of full life cycle carbon footprints of Tesco products.
  • Online food diary tool analysing carbon content and nutritional content of your meals.

Packaging and transport

Transportation is a proportionally smaller emitter in the food chain, unless the goods are chilled/frozen and/or air freighted to the UK.

Higher carbon footprints:

  • Short-life items such as veggie sausages/burgers which need to be chilled or frozen.
  • Flown goods.

Lower carbon footprints:

  • Fresh local and seasonal produce.
  • Canned goods – industrial scale cooking tends to be more efficient than home cooking and cans are recyclable.
  • Dried goods – weigh less so lower transport footprint. However, the packaging is often not recyclable and cooking at home will add extra emissions. Use refill stations or bulk buying for lowest emissions.
  • Efficient cooking equipment and habits, such as an induction hob, pressure cookers and keeping the lid on pots.

Shopping & Eating Out

Catering

If you’d like to speak to a institution or business about sustainable food, try these resources:

Our work around good food for the planet

Good Food Oxford offer support, consultancy and publicity to our network members working towards good food for the planet. We also undertake a variety of research and projects on food sustainability in Oxford.

Research

Sustainable Diet Research Review
This report by Low Carbon Oxford North summarises key research on sustainable diets and ways to change eating behaviours. The good news is that research has consistently shown that the best diets for the planet are the best for your body too:
1. Eat fewer animal products and more plants
2. Waste less
3. Eat the correct amount, and source closer to home, seasonal and sustainably grown.

Some key (and often surprising!) findings about Britain’s food from this report:

  • Of 13 different common diets, vegan and ‘go gently on the cheese’ vegetarian are the healthiest and most sustainable. An average UK diet and one with too many calories are the least healthy and sustainable.
  • £1 invested in Local Food returns £7 to society in the form of social and economic outcomes including health and well-being, training and skills.
  • Portion sizes have consistently risen over the last few decades, and research indicates that people struggle to identify correct portions sizes.
  • The average household wastes £470 of food each year, rising to £700 with children.
  • We have also identified a range of tools to help you achieve a healthy and sustainable diet, including an online calculator which gives a carbon and nutritional breakdown of the foods you input.
  • The majority of British people say that animal welfare, sustainable fish and ethical products are important, but far less actually buy products which reflect this.
  • The majority of British people value and also purchase British produce and healthy produce.
  • 40% of young men agree that red meat is bad for you, 25% of people expect to be eating no meat by 2025
  • Regardless of income, household purchases do not match recommended government dietary guidelines.

Food in North Oxford Research
This report summarises North Oxford’s demographics, current food landscape and relevant local research and initiatives:

  • There are over 20 initiatives working on healthy, sustainable food in North Oxford
  • North Oxford is majority white British, well-educated with above health and above-average income.
  • North Oxford recycle more food than the Oxford average
  • There are five local veg box schemes which deliver to OX2.
  • We mapped over 160 food outlets in OX2 6, OX2 7 and OX2 8.
Report cover page

Fast Forward Oxfordshire
A zero carbon Oxfordshire in 2040 and how we get there. Report by Friends of the Earth, 2019. Download