Can a Carrot Cause Climate Change?


As spring rounds the corner, Saneta and her daughter Alma look forward to getting their small vegetable garden in Oakland ready for the growing season. “We love tomatoes, beans, and lettuce. And of course, crunchy carrots. Those are Alma’s favorites,” says Saneta. She knows they’ll be extra tasty when pulled fresh from the garden. “When you grow your own, you really think twice about throwing out a limp carrot,” Saneta reasons as she plunges a few tired carrots into ice water to revive them.

When shopping at the grocery store, it’s easy to forget all the resources that go into producing our food. Each bag of carrots requires not only water and nutrients to grow, but also fuel for planting, harvesting, cleaning, packaging, and transporting those carrots to a distribution center, then to the store, then to our homes.

Considering this, it’s even more important to be mindful of our edible food and not throw any of it away, including into the green bin. In the landfill, rotting food releases methane, which is many times more potent than carbon dioxide. Although composting wasted food is better than sending it to the landfill, not wasting it in the first place is the sweet spot. Adding it all up, the emissions produced from wasted food contribute four times more to climate change than worldwide air travel each year!

Back at home, Saneta is digging up compost from their backyard compost pile to spread onto the veggie garden. What was once the family’s peels and scraps has turned into a rich, dark soil amendment, perfect to help grow the coming season’s crop of carrots. “It’s neat to see the full cycle, with our veggie scraps going back into food,” she observes.

Edible Garden Workshop

Learn how to design a food garden, build healthy soil,
and grow your own produce year round.


Saturday, March 28, 10am–12pm
Mills Community Farm
5000 MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland

Sign up for the Edible Garden Workshop here.


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