For the past couple of years, Chris and I have been learning about food and the importance of eating healthy, organic and/or food that was grown locally. It hadn’t really hit home until I started reading the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingslover. Barbara tells the story of how their family moved to a farm in Virginia and decided to grown their own food, raise their own livestock and support the local farming community. She also explained some of the issues with the food industry which really opened our eyes to real problems with the way things currently are.
As a result of learning about these issues and the consequences that come with them, Chris and I have decided to be much more proactive about where our food comes from. Some of our biggest concerns include:
- Some of the food that you see in your supermarket’s produce section has travelled thousands of kilometers to get there. They’ve been treated with chemicals, pesticides and antibiotics to make them hearty enough for long distance travel, usually at the cost of taste and nutrients. Along with that are the transportation emissions produced to get food across the country to your table. (What for?? So you can have a pineapple in January? It’s just not worth it.)
- Making and transporting the chemicals requires more energy and produces more greenhouse gases.
- Growing livestock for food in some large production facilities are cause for concern. Things like stacks of cages crammed full of chickens with nowhere to go, sitting in their own feces – because that many chickens in such close quarters have to poop somewhere. Feeding livestock certain foods to fatten them up that their species were never meant to eat in the first place. Feeding them grain because it costs less but requires so much energy to produce.
What we want to do going forward:
- Support local farms by buying local. The food is fresher, tastes better, contains fewer/no chemicals, generates fewer transportation emissions and supports the local economy.
- Grow some of our own food. I’m already planning for next spring’s garden and will start learning how to preserve food to have local produce through the winter months (freezing, canning, drying).
- Buy organic where possible.
- Buy closest to home: For us, that’s Ontario. If that’s not possible, buy as close to home as possible; at a minimum, buy Canadian.
We know there will be some items that are just not available locally, like coffee. For those we’ll commit to educating ourselves and choosing a source that has ethical practices.
We had our first grocery trip this morning and we did pretty well! Most of the produce we purchased was from Ontario, the rest was Canadian. All local, some organic. We bought strawberries, pears, lettuce, red peppers, butternut squash, acorn squash, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes and basil.
Other items we purchased were also either from Ontario or Quebec: Yogurt, cheese, organic chicken, organic pork.
Some items that were difficult to find any Canadian source for were: beans/legumes and quinoa. We’ll have to do some research for those. 🙂
And the cool thing? We ended up spending the same amount as our usual weekly grocery trip.
We feel good about our choices and are excited about doing the right thing. The right thing for us, for our health, for our local farms and for our local economy. It’s a win-win all around.
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