- Avoid processed foods. Processing, such as grinding grain into flour or meal, adds steps and energy to a food's preparation, increasing its overall carbon footprint.
- Favor native crops. Native crops are generally better suited to your local ecosystem, so they require less fertilizer and fewer changes to the land. Plus, they likely won't have to travel as far.
- Every step of food production matters. Do some research into how your food is made. For example, in 2006, researchers in the U.K. found that shipped-in lamb from New Zealand had a lower carbon footprint than local meat—almost entirely because the Kiwis run their farms and processing plants with hydropower, while the British relied on coal.
- Everything changes. Remember that food production can change rapidly. In 2006, the UK was run almost entirely on fossil fuels, but it's phasing out coal and oil for wind power at speeds taking even hardcore environmentalists by surprise. And by 2020, the shipping industry will be burning cleaner fuel which may change the carbon math.