FOOD: LET’S GET LOCAL
Posted by strattof on July 26, 2012
WHERE IN THE WORLD DOES MY FOOD COME FROM?
The average Canadian meal travels 3,000 kilometres to get from field to plate. Here’s how far items purchased at a supermarket in Regina are likely to have travelled:
FOOD ITEM/ LIKELY SOURCE/ DISTANCE TRAVELLED
Roasting Chicken / Winnipeg / 573 km
Steak / Calgary / 753 km
Potatoes / Idaho / 1,445 km
Lettuce / California / 2,792 km
Cooking Onions / Georgia, US / 3,234 km
Green Onions / Mexico / 3,360 km
Bananas / Ecuador / 6,292 km
8 REASONS TO EAT LOCALLY
1. Local food tastes better because it is fresher. Produce purchased at the supermarket has been in transit or cold-storage for days or even weeks.
2. Local food is healthier because it is more nutritious. It is also likely to have less, or no toxic additives.
3. Buying local food contributes to the local economy and helps Saskatchewan farmers stay in business. We need to keep our food dollars in our local community, rather than increasing the profits of distant, destructive corporations.
4. Local food is fairer to farmers and farm animals. In the industrial food system, both workers and animals live in horrible conditions.
5. Local food is very good for the environment. Transporting food long distances by road and air freight increases the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. In North America today, food and agriculture account for more than a quarter of the goods transported by road. Food is now also the largest component of airfreight, the most polluting form of transportation. Studies show that replacing enough imported food items with those locally grown can reduce household greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter of a tonne annually.
6. Local food systems are safer and more sustainable. Following his visit to Canada in May 2012, the Special UN Rapporteur on the Right to Food had this to say about Canadian agricultural policies: “Since the 1950s, Canada has been moving to large-scale, input-intensive modes of production, leading to increasingly unsustainable farming practices and higher levels of greenhouse gas emissions, soil contamination, and erosion of biodiversity….A thriving small-scale farming sector is essential to local food systems….These systems can deliver considerable ecological and health benefits by increasing access to fresh and nutritious foods.”
7. Buying local food helps to forge a strong relationship between eater, grower, and the earth. It reminds us where our food actually comes from and who produces it and how.
8. Buying local food is liberating. It frees us from our dependence on the industrial food system–corporations who are only interested in the health of their bottom line.
SHOP AT THE FARMERS’ MARKET– and come away smiling.
May 5–October 12, 2012: Wednesday and Saturday, 9:30 am–1:30 pm, City Square Plaza, 12th Avenue and Scarth Street.
October–December & March–April: Saturday, 9:30 am–1:30 pm: Cathedral Neighbourhood Centre, 2900-13th Avenue:
Learn more about the Farmers’ Market: by going to: http://www.reginafarmersmarket.ca/
ASK FOR LOCALLY GROWN PRODUCE AT YOUR REGULAR SUPERMARKET – even when they don’t have it. If there is enough customer demand, supermarkets will begin to stock locally grown food.
GET INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY GARDENS – and grow your own food. “Only by growing some food for yourself can you become acquainted with the beautiful energy cycle that revolves from soil to seed to flower to fruit to food to offal to decay, and around again”–Wendell Berry. To find out about the community gardens in your area, google “Regina community gardens.” Grow Regina also has a very helpful website: http://growregina.ca/
IF YOU HAVE A LAWN, DIG IT UP AND PLANT VEGETABLES. Lawns are a waste of water and good soil. Besides, it is now fashionable to grow vegetables on your front lawn. Talk to your neighbours as you garden.
DEMAND PROVINCIAL SUPPORT FOR SMALL FAMILY FARMS, equal to the massive support given to industrial agriculture.
DEMAND PROVINCIAL INCENTIVES TO FARMERS TO SWITCH TO ORGANIC = a better economic future for farmers, better health and food security for citizens, and lower healthcare costs for the province.
F O O D
To the tune of My Grandfather’s Clock
Lyrics by the Raging Grannies
We’ll care for the soil as it cares for us
Giving food through all our life long.
We’ll care for the worms and waters as they work
In harmony like a song.
No toxic chemicals poisoning the land
No erosion from water and wind.
But stop, look, and daily give thanks
To all creatures of Earth–our kin.
We’ll eat of the food that is grown right here
As the seasons roll around.
We’ll support local farmers as they nourish us
Drawing health from our native ground.
Less exotic fruits from far-away climes.
Less out-of-season veg on our plate.
But stop, look, and daily give thanks
To our farmers. For warm days we can wait.
Remember the workers who toil far away,
Their land robbed to grow treats for us.
Remember the pesticides wrecking their health
For our perfect-looking food. Is that just?
No more food transports pounding down our roads
Polluting the air and the land.
But stop, think of the cost to the Earth.
Let’s buy what grows close at hand.