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Climate Food Week 2020

As you may already have noticed, last Thursday the HYY Environmental Committee launched our first ever Climate Food Week campaign (ilmastoruokaviikko)! 

In addition to sharing plenty of tips for environmentally-friendly eating on social media (make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook) we are also hosting a webinar, ”Better food choices and environmental actions”, where we will be discussing the topic with experts (in Finnish). Excitingly, in addition to this, we are hosting a recipe competition! Read more about it here (Finnish, English) and make sure to enter for the chance to win some delicious prizes! Stay tuned on social media, following the hashtags #ilmastoruokaviikko (Climate Food Week) and #hyynreseptikilpailu (HYY’s Recipe Competition), and make note of all of the eco-friendly kitchen inspiration from other students at the university!

So why the focus on food? It can come as a surprise to some that food and food systems are highly connected to climate change and sustainability. Every decision, right from the field and the production line, all the way to you taking a bite at your dinner table has various implications on our planet and the people living on it. You can find plenty of information about food and some statistics from the IPCC report in the post below:

IN ENGLISH BELOW Ilmastoruokaviikon alkuun tarkastelemme, millaisia kytköksiä ruokajärjestelmän ja ilmastonmuutoksen…

Posted by HYYn Ympäristöasiat on Saturday, 14 November 2020

Given that every single person on the planet is a part of the food system at least as a consumer, how food systems are structured and what we eat can therefore also play a huge role in reducing any negative effects on sustainability and the climate. 

WE NEED TO CHANGE NOW! Climate change, together with population growth and urbanization etc., challenges food security and the goals of sustainable development. Transformation of the current food system is crucial on various levels, we need to:

– change our diets
– create more efficient and diverse food production
– reduce food waste

So what can we as consumers do to make our food habits more sustainable? While we might not directly be able to affect food production, we can certainly vote with our dollars and our habits. Some of the most effective ways to reduce the effect of our eating habits on the planet include:

🥕 Increasing the amount of veggies on our plate, and reducing the amount of meat. You don’t have to cut meat out altogether, but even including a few more plant-based meals a week will go a long way in reducing the impact that your lunch is having on the planet (more on this tomorrow 😉)  

Eating seasonal and local food. While we’ve become very accustomed to having certain fresh foods available to us no matter what the season, this is very taxing for the planet. Do we really need to have fresh strawberries all year around? Not when there are so many other alternative fruits and treats for us to snack on all year round! Extra energy is required to grow certain foods in the winter for example, and more emissions arise from transporting the food when it comes from further away. Eating seasonally and locally is an effective way to reduce these extra emissions, while supporting your local farmers at the same time. Satokausi is a great website and app to help know what is in season in Finland and when – they also have fantastic recipe ideas!

🌱 Linked to the above point, growing your own food is a great way to reduce your impact on the planet (keep your eyes peeled for more information about this later!)

🌲 Carbon Compensate your lunch when eating at Unicafe. The Compensate scheme at Unicafe gives you the opportunity to immediately feed into some good and reduce your carbon footprint, by donating a few cents each time you eat to forest-planting schemes. (Meat and chicken meals: 0,15 €, fish and vegetarian meals: 0,10 €, vegan meals: 0,05 €).

🗑 And finally, one of the biggest actions we can do to reduce our impact is to reduce our food waste!  In Finland households waste about 20–25 kilograms of food per person, per year, totalling up to 120–160 million kilograms of food! This is naturally a burden to, not only the economy, but also to the environment, at the equivalent of approximately 1,000 million kilograms CO2 being wasted as a result. 

So what are some steps that we can take to reduce our food waste?

    🛒 Only buy what you need – meal prep. It is very easy to end up in the situation where you come back from the store, only to realise that you still don’t have what you need to make a meal, but instead just a collection of random food items that don’t really go together. Meal prepping will go a long way in helping you only buy what you need, and make sure that you actually use everything you buy. And don’t make the rookie mistake of going food shopping when you’re hungry! 

📅 Buy the food that’s about to expire or otherwise unwanted. You can already help reduce food waste in the store, by buying the food that will be thrown the next day – as a bonus it often also comes at a discount! Gamify it, and get creative with your finds! You can also help by taking home the slightly tired looking veggies or some of the more battered cans of beans, or those single bananas. Don’t forget about Unicafe’s Leftover Lounas scheme where you can pick up leftover lunches from the different Unicafe restaurants. Additionally WeFood Suomi, the food waste store in Redi is definitely worth checking out, as well as the ResQ Club app, which has quickly become a favourite on everybody’s phones.    

Store food correctly.This is true especially for fruit and veggies, which tend to spoil very easily if not stored correctly. Always google how to best store your food, there are plenty of tips and tricks out there which can stretch the shelf-life of your food by a surprising amount – this is a great website.

    🎨 Get creative – learn some new recipes and make use of your veggies that have already seen their best days. Instagram and the rest of the internet is filled with inspiration, how about scrolling through some vegetarian accounts, or flicking through an old cookbook you have at home? (Don’t forget to enter our recipe competition!

👯 Cook with your friends!
It is often much easier to cook for two or three than it is for one. Cook with your friends for a fun and environmental evening, or cook in bulk and swap with others if you’re worried about getting bored of your go-to recipes. 

♻ Additionally – Zero Waste isn’t just for September! The Zero Waste principles (5 R’s of Zero Waste: Refuse, Reduce, Repair/Reuse, Recycle, Rot) are just as much a part of the food system as any other system. Get creative with parts of food that you would usually throw away, see if you could somehow use it instead. And of course set up a biowaste (keep it in your freezer if needed). There are also more and more restaurants (Nolla, Loop) popping up around the city that cater with the Zero Waste principles in mind – go try them out for some sustainable and future-thinking dining (as the pandemic allows, of course).

To conclude, check out some of the HYY Environmental Committee members’ tips for more sustainable eating and some treats for this time of year in the video below (best viewed on Facebook or in fullscreen, video in Finnish).

We look forward to seeing your recipe creations and we can’t wait to see you at the webinar! Stay tuned for the rest of our updates and enjoy this year’s Climate Food Week! 

IN ENGLISH BELOW _____________________ ILMASTORUOKAVIIKKO ALKAA PIAN! HYYn Ympäristövaliokunta järjestää tänä vuonna…

Posted by HYYn Ympäristöasiat on Thursday, 5 November 2020
Parempia ruokavalintoja ja ilmastotekoja –webinaari on torstaina 19.11 klo 18-20:00.

Words: Katja Kaurinkoski 
Header image: congerdesign from Pixabay

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