Do we really need to make billionaires richer?
Everytime I visit my husband's country, I am just amazed at how simple life is there; and how happy people are with how they live. In his city, there are no chain stores - that's right, no big name brands, no aisles crammed with unhealthy food, no extravagant signs imploring you to "BuY nOw AnD sAvE" . There are just small. street-level stores that sell locally grown produce and meat. In fact, the greenhouses and fields are just outside the residential areas; about a 10-15 minute walk from the stores.
You can order from a butcher who has meat prepared for the day, or you can go to another shop where you physically pick out the chicken you want to eat (while it's still alive), and they process and prepare it for you. A fishmonger drives through the city with a megaphone announcing the daily catch. Bakeries in every neighbourhood put out fresh, warm bread and other products daily. Often if you go outside the city, every few kilometres there are small roadside stands where people sell homemade goods. Twice a week there is a large outdoor market with everything from fresh vegetables, to clothes, spices and other household items. Everyone works hard and is supported by the community.
Sounds amazing, doesn't it? Why can't we have the same appreciation for our food and community?
People here in Canada are becoming too dependent on "One Stop Shops" and settling for less. They are unaware of what they are putting into their bodies - you can see the dangers of this every year; people die from bacterial contamination thanks to mass producing and low quality controls.
We deserve better!
I think one of the biggest factors is cost; but if we can shift our mindsets from a "profit over everything" mentality to "health over everything", we can encourage our governments to invest in local farmers to keep costs down, move tax breaks from undeserving chain businesses to small farmers looking to scale up to feed their community, and put out education on the benefits of supporting local.
Until we get to that point, we can take steps to modernize the farm-to-table process. In my area there is the Cape Breton Food Hub, a membership based program that allows users to order items from farms on a weekly basis, then collect their items at designated pickup points. Restaurants can also make arrangements to receive locally grown produce. We also have a weekly Farmers Market in Downtown Sydney which has expanded to several days per week due to COVID19. It is in the heart of the city - what excuse is there to not go in and buy fresh food, instead of settling for food that was either picked too early or too late, sat on trucks for several days, then in the chain grocery stores for several more days, with many people touching it?
Certainly we can have some items brought in by truck; such as specialty grocery items that cannot be grown in Canadian climates, but to see Romaine Lettuce come from the USA to Canada and making us sick, when we can buy ethically grown, safe plants and help small business owners support their families, this should be our priority. I am eager to hear your thoughts! Please let you know what you think about a model like this - is it sustainable to our city, province, country? If you reside outside of Canada, how does your country handle food production and distribution?