At the individual and community level, eating locally sourced, plant-rich diets can have a substantial impact on your carbon footprint. Locally grown and produced food is usually less processed and has a higher nutritional value because it is consumed much sooner after harvest, so it has the potential to increase public health. Also, increasing access to local food will lower emissions associated with transporting food from farm to fork. Community gardens and backyard gardening can further reduce emissions while educating the public on food cultivation.
Carmel has a robust community garden network operated by the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District, where residents can maintain their own garden plots. The Carmel Schools Green Team also has a community garden program, Plots to Plates, which includes demonstration gardens and gardening courses offered by the Master Gardeners of Hamilton County. The Carmel Farmers Market is also widely frequented by the Carmel community, with over 95,000 attendees annually.
The strategies in this section build upon this foundation to encourage even more local food growing and consumption of locally sourced food products, to reduce the impacts of our community’s diet on the environment, including through GHG emissions. All of these strategies also have significant co-benefits on public health, equity, and our community’s quality of life.