Food Service

The agriculture sector is one of the largest producers of greenhouse gases, including nitrous oxide, methane and carbon dioxide. In 2019, 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions resulted from agricultural activities. Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, livestock management, enteric fermentation (livestock digestive process), manure management and other agricultural practices increase greenhouse gas emissions. Offering plant-based meal options allows your guests to try new foods and can encourage them to embrace a lifestyle that reduces methane and other greenhouse gases. The Climate Toolkit created food service goals to guide botanical gardens, zoos and museums to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Click below to read more about each goal and read further resources. If you need more support, please email the Climate Toolkit at


Food Service Goals of the Climate Toolkit:

Purchasing food within a 100-mile radius reduces carbon dioxide emissions from transportation and refrigeration needed to preserve food coming from more distant sources. Plus, it supports the local food system, including farmers, the economy and the environment.


One-fifth of all global emissions originate from the meat-centric diet. A plant-rich diet can reduce carbon emission while lowering rates of chronic diseases. Ensuring that at least 40% of your menu is vegan and vegetarian allows guests to try meatless meals and learn about plant-based options. Livestock are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gases, so limiting the meat production in your food service will reduce your environmental footprint.

The Climate Toolkit defines a vegetarian diet as one that excludes any meat from animals, including beef, poultry, seafood and fish.


Institutions Pursuing Food Service Goals:

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest

Clermont, Kentucky

Cincinnati Art Museum

Cincinnati, Ohio

Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver, Colorado

Duke Farms

Hillsborough Township, New Jersey

Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden

Washington, D.C.

Horniman Museum and Gardens

London, United Kingdom

Jardin botanique de Montréal, Espace pour la vie/ Montréal Botanical Gardens, Montréal Space for Life

Québec, Canada

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, California

Natural History Museum of Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

New York Botanical Garden

Bronx, New York

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk, Virginia
North Carolina Botanical Garden

North Carolina Botanical Garden

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

San Diego Botanic Garden

Encinitas, California

The Jerusalem Botanical Gardens

Jerusalem, Israel