Many plant-based food options are healthy and a good alternative to meat, which often has a larger carbon footprint. However, these healthy vegetables and grains can have hidden negative environmental impacts, like using lots of water (or having a large “water footprint”), and travelling great distances to arrive at your local grocery store. “Super foods” like almonds, avocados, chickpeas, and quinoa all require lots of water, and since many of them are not native to the Northeast US, have large carbon footprints from their journeys to colder climates. Here are some healthy plant foods that require less water and less travel, but are just as healthy and delicious:
Eating local is one of the best ways to reduce the negative environmental impacts of your diet, and to lower your personal water footprint and carbon footprint. It also supports local community members, so try to purchase local produce whenever you can.
Written by Isabel Lieberman, Class of 2021.