POL Government Special Projects Portland CAN! Food Choices

What you choose to eat every day affects the climate

What we eat and how our food is produced, packaged, shipped and disposed accounts for at least 13 percent of human-caused carbon emissions in the United States.

The production of certain types of food creates more carbon emissions than others. For example, on a per-calorie basis, the production of red meat creates significantly more carbon emissions than the production of cereals and grains.

Take action now for the climate

  • Eat primarily fruits, vegetables and grains, and less meat.
  • Purchase food that is minimally processed and packaged.
  • Grow your own food.

These actions will help you:

  • Support a strong local economy. Buying local food helps maintain a stabile agricultural land base near Portland and supports the regional economy. It's estimated that for every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 is re-spent locally.
  • Cut calories. A plant-based diet is rich in fiber and you’ll feel full with fewer calories, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating. On average, Americans get less than half the recommended daily quantity of fiber.
  • Prevent disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting meat consumption may lessen your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
  • Protect ocean life. Use of chemical fertilizers is considered the major human-related cause of dead zones in our waters, oxygen-starved ocean areas that are devoid of all marine life.
  • Reduce your impact on climate change: Food and other organic matter that end up in the landfill produce methane gas, 23 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.


Climate friendly actions you can take at home!

Ready for more? View the full list of climate-friendly actions!

Eat more seasonal fruits, vegetables and whole grains

What's in Season? – Be in the know about seasonal bounty.

Eat local

Find local food – Listings of farmers markets, community supported agriculture, u-pick farms and more near you.

Go meatless once a week

Meatless Monday – Resources, recipes and reasoning for going meatless one day a week.

Get dirty in the garden!

Portland’s Urban Growth Bounty Classes – Register for classes on sustainable living, eating and growing, taught by local experts and hosted by the City of Portland.

Metro: Natural Gardening – Tips from Metro's experts: workshops, learning gardens, guides and more.

Compost your food waste

Compost – Resources for composting at home or commercially.

Metro: Guide to Effective Composting – Learn how you can save money and reduce waste by composting certain food scraps and yard waste.

Plan your meals and eat reasonably-sized portions

Wasted Food – An insightful blog, information and action steps for reducing your food waste.

Food Choices

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Food Choice Articles
Pickin' Time | Climate Action Now | Food Choices - Tips for picking when the produce is prime
The Food "Dating Game" | Climate Action Now | Food Choices - Dates and your food. Are they fresh enough for a healthy relationship?
Still Tasty After All These Years | Climate Action Now | Food Choices - Find answers to common food freshness and storage questions to reduce your food waste
Food Choices: Think. Eat. Save. - U.N. recognizes the City of Portland and the global food waste problem
Food Choices: Cranberry Chat - Holiday side dishes that matter
Food Choices: Face the Food Waste Facts with Infographics - Food waste is huge no matter how you look at it
Food Choices: Maximizing Milk's Mileage - Handy tips for safely storing dairy products
Food Choices: What's in a Name? - The truth behind food labeling
Food Choices: Taking Meat Off the Table - Helpful tips for reducing your consumption of meat
Food Choices: Grow your own! - Cut down on your carbon emissions by raising your own food at home
Food Choices: Keep it Fresh - How to Store Food Properly - Tips to help maximize the life of your vegetables and prevent food waste
Food Choices: What You Eat Affects the Climate - Choosing less meat and dairy can help shrink your carbon footprint
Food Choices: Mind Your Peas – Here’s Some Clues - How food waste contributes to climate change
Food Choices: Readin’, Writin’, and Wastin’ - What smart schools are doing to decrease food waste from school lunch.
Food Choices: Pesticides on Your Plate - Explore the link between the chemicals we use on our food and climate change.
Food Choices: Chew on this! - Making the choice to be a conscientious eater, even just one day a week, can make a major difference.