At CEC, we know that the food choices we make as individuals and as communities affect and are affected by climate change. And, food choice is very personal. Depending on where you live, your dietary needs, your work schedule, your cultural origins, your religion or personal ethics, and your financial and logistical realities, the “right” way to eat will vary.
Whatever your realities are, we are here to support you in making food choices that better your health, our climate and our community. Below are some questions and resources to help guide your decisions.
Questions to Consider
For each food item, we encourage you to ask the following:
- Did the production of this item restore and regenerate local ecosystems?
- How many miles did this item travel to get to me?
- How many inputs (fossil fuels, agrichemicals, water, labor) were required to produce this item from start to finish?
- How many people helped get the food to my plate, and how were they treated in the process?
- Are the ingredients in this item pronounceable and recognizable?
For those interested in better understanding and eliminating factory farming and industrial food production, explore the following resources:
- A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism, Eric Holt Jimenez (Book)
- Stuffed and Starved, Raj Patel (Book)
- Food Rules and Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan (Book)
- Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat, Temra Costa (Book)
- Food First Publications:
- Organic Food: Where do We Go from Here
- Agriculture, The Next Battleground for Climate Justice
For those interested in a better understanding or adopting a vegan or vegetarian diet, explore the following resources:
- One Meal a Day by CEC’s 2019 Environmental Hero Suzy Amis Cameron (Book)
- Diet For A Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe (Book)
- The Vegan Society (Eating Resource)
- Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating (Publication)
For those interested in a locally sourced diet, explore the following resources:
- Food Security for the Faint of Heart, Robin Wheeler (Book)
- 100 mile diet, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon (Book)
- Farm City by Novella Carpenter (Book)
- See “Local Food Resources” below (Eating Resource)
For those interested in responsible meat production and consumption, explore the following resources:
- Dirt to Soil – Gabe Brown (Book)
- The Ethical Carnivore, Louise Gray (Book)
- Meat: A Benign Extravagance Simon Fairlie (Book)
- A Consumer’s Guide to Humane Food Labels (Eating Resource)
- Give Thanks to Meat (Publication)
- The Sacred Cow (coming 2020)
- For national directories of sustainable meat sources, go to
Local Food Resources
We are fortunate to have a robust selection of farmers’ markets available in our region, including multiple weekly markets in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. For complete schedules, visit:
- Santa Barbara Certified Farmers’ Market
- Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market
- Santa Maria Certified Farmer’s Markets
- Route 1 Farmer’s Market
- Orcutt Certified Farmer’s Market
There are a variety of local farms and ranches working to build soil carbon and transition to more regenerative and climate-smart agricultural practices.
This list is not comprehensive. If there are others you think should be on this list, please let our team know.
- Casitas Valley Pastures
- Fess Parker Ranch
- Gaviota Givings
- Jimenez Family Farms
- McGrath Family Farms
- Pork Palace
- Rancho San Julian
- Sage Hill Farm
- Valley Piggery
- Watkins Cattle Company
- Winfield Farm
Local fishermen provide sustainably-caught seafood.
What You Can Do
- Eat lower on the food chain. Plant-based foods can provide good nutrition while having a lower carbon footprint than meat.
- Choose local, seasonal, organic and sustainable food when possible; sustainable food options usually come with a smaller carbon footprint.
- Choose grassfed meat over industrially produced meat from factory farms when you can. Learn more about meat and animal product labels in our Food Label Guide.
- Eat whole foods instead of processed foods when possible. Processed food uses energy that emits greenhouse gases.