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Eating raw broccoli compared to boiling, could save as much energy as was used to grow it [1].

Try a meal with raw veg and no boiling, and you’ll save as much energy from greenhouse gas warming as was used to grow it. Make it a locally grown microgreen [ad!], and you’ll do even better!

I spent a little time this evening reading about carbon emissions of UK produced broccoli compared to vs imported, Spanish, broccoli. I love how these studies have a way of throwing up something unexpected – and in this case I think, also something that we can actually do something about.

We do find that in general, fresh UK produced broccoli is better for the environment – not too surprising given that it travels on average 200km rather than 2,600km. What is surprising though, is that the authors calculated that 50% of greenhouse warming potential related to the broccoli life cycle was used in the home - much of this by cooking on the hob!

‘Lifecycle analysis’ are used for these studies and are great for comparisons. They involve looking back at what went before, and before that, and before that, right to the start of the process, and forwards also. For each point then, in this case, calculations are done about what fuels, energy, and materials are used and the impact that these have.

Field grown broccoli is produced by the ploughing of land, usually a few times to get the ground ready, planting of seedlings indoors, transplanting, covering with plastics, spraying for weeds and pest control, harvesting, cooling and packing, transporting (and again, and again), preparing, cooking, eating… lets stop there! Energy is used at each point.

Huge tractors guzzling oil as they turn over heavy soil mile after mile are what come firstly to my mind as big energy users – it turns out that perhaps 30ml of diesel might be used to produce a typical kg of fresh broccoli [2]. This might not sound like much, but burn that amount and watch the smoke go up – not very pleasant. Yet this 300 watts of energy is what you might use for ten minutes of simmering on the hob with a lid on. Use your kg of broccoli on three occasions and you’ve used three times the amount of energy as the tractor that was used in its growing!

Well, raw or juiced broccoli are options, but more realistic might be microgreens! One of our 30g pots will deliver more of some nutrients than a kg of fresh field grown broccoli, and can be readily eaten raw with all its nutrients in place: eliminating that cooking period.

Try a meal or three with raw veg only, and save a little on gas, and its environmental impact.

[1] Depending on farming system, growing conditions, yield and other factors. [2] Some farmers in the study achieved a third of this rate.

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