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Cut your food’s carbon footprint with these colorful charts

“Eat local.” It’s a recommendation you’ve probably heard before. Environmental advocates and even the United Nations have hyped a “locavore” diet as a way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the climate.

The basic idea is that more transportation leads to more emissions, so you want to reduce the distance your food has to travel to get to you. And certainly, if you can eat local, that’s great. But it’s not the most effective way to reduce your food’s carbon footprint.

The website Our World in Data recently explained, with some great charts, why your focus should really be elsewhere. Yes, eating locally reduces emissions from transportation, but the fact of the matter is transportation accounts for less than 10 percent of the emissions that come with producing food. On the other hand, processes on farms and changes in land use typically account for much more of the emissions from our food. Translation: What you eat is much more important than whether your food is local.

Want to know which foods create the most (and the least) emissions across the supply chain? Check out these colorful charts from Our World In Data, which examines 29 common food products and provides a clear breakdown of their emissions totals. 

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