Low-carbon lunch: Costa Rica aims for climate-friendly farming

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Dole, the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producer, is attempting to achieve carbon neutrality in its entire Costa Rica supply chain. It has reduced water use in processing facilities like this one by as much as 80 percent. And it’s cut nitrous oxide emissions from fertilizer in half. Photo: Sam Eaton/Homelands Productions.

Food production, from farm to table, generates more than a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a vicious circle, because climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing farmers today.

In Costa Rica, farming accounts for a whopping 37 percent of all emissions. Since proclaiming four years ago that it would become the world’s first carbon-neutral nation by 2021, the country has become a laboratory for climate-friendly agriculture. Scientists, small-scale farmers and industrial plantations are all taking part.

Sam Eaton’s report is scheduled to air on PRI’s The World today as part of the What’s for Lunch series.