Support your community and buy local!

So here's the scenario...

You walk into a grocery store and see a fantastic deal for say....tomatoes. You immediately reach for a bag and as you start to check the firmness on a ripe juicy tomato you look at the label on the box. "GROWN IN VENEZUELA" or another country/continent.

Now let's consider the journey of that tomato to your hands. Probably in a box on either in a shipping container or on a truck across thousands of kilometers (doesn't sound very fresh does it?). Think of all that gas polluting the air just to get that tomato to you. Now think of all the thousands of markets these tomatoes are supplied to, and the effect of the shipping pollution magnifies!

In a time when gas prices are rising to record breaking highs, the cost of all non-locally grown produce will increase to make up shipping costs. That or costs for growing will be cut...possibly in ways that will still negatively affect the consumer. Less stringent standards for pesticide use (though that's a whole 'nother can of worms!), cheaper genetically modified crops (which, if sold to the unknowing consumer with severe food sensitivities could spell discomfort if not disaster) and unhygienic growing methods (consider the tomato scare of recent news).

If you buy local, the cost of transportation will still affect the price, but they won't be as pronounced. Rather than over a thousand miles, it'll be over 50 miles...what a difference! Local farmers are regulated by laws you will be aware of, which you have control over, and which are more often than not, more stringent than those of developing country far far away.

It is much more sustainable to buy produce that is grown within 100 km of you, because you technically keep the resources used to grow the produce within your "habitat". Did you know that severe drought is affecting areas in Africa that grow huge crops of flowers to be shipped all around the world and used in bouquets? Flowers use more water than normal crops and by shipping these flowers away, you are taking away even more water from a drought-stricken environment. The same can happen with vegetable crops. Developing countries need those croplands and resources for their own people...not exporting to developed countries looking for cheaper goods. Prices at farmers markets are comparable to prices in grocery stores that do not purchase locally...so long as the crops are in season. I understand that you may desire to eat strawberries in the winter but that is a luxury you don't have to indulge in on behalf of the environment.

When you support your local farmer, you also support the local economy and foster a stronger sense of local community when you can actually talk to those who grew your food. You can also make a family outing of it, and teach your kids the importance of buying local, knowing where the products you consume come from, as well as teach them to be more environmentally aware! There are always things to do at the market!

Here are some links to check out for your local farmers market, but I'm certain you'll find more using your usual search engine!

Ontario Links:

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