Buying Local

I recently attended a presentation in Toronto where they identified food/consumer trends for Canada, North America and the world. One common theme that was noted was the local food trend. Buying local means a variety of different things to different people; for some buying local means going to your neighbour, for others it is within 100 miles and for some it is about buying within your province or country. Although the term buying local is not easily defined because it has a different meaning to everyone, it is still continuing to grow in importance to consumers. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has defined locally grown as domestic goods being advertised originating within 50km of the place they are sold.

It makes sense to buy local from both an environmental and economical standpoint. Buying local foods reduces your carbon footprint while also helping out your community, province and ultimately your country. Buying local keeps money in the community while if you are spending your money outside of the community it is lost. As an example, say I spent 5 dollars at a local farmers market, that farmer then uses that 5 dollars to pay for a milkshake at a restaurant in town; that 5 dollars has now generated 10 dollars towards the community’s economy. If the 5 dollars is simply spent outside of the community then it will not generate any more income for your community. This is why buying local is so important, we buy food everyday and if we buy local then we are giving back to our community.

The reason why I bring this up is because I recently read an article that talked about the reasoning behind buying local and the driving force for people buying local was “economic reasons”. For example Canadians would rather buy a Canadian product then a product from another country even if the product from the other country was geographically closer to them. In other words, the driving force for local food is that Canadians want to support their communities, whether this means their town or the entire country.

Here are some tips on how you can find local pork products- whatever you consider local.

Community Neighbours/ 100 mile: Check out local meat shops and farmers markets. Make sure to ask where the meat has come from.

Provincial:  Some grocery stores carry the Foodland Ontario label on their products, which is an easy way to distinguish domestic food products from imported. Unfortunately however not all food retailers carry the Foodland Ontario label nor do they place Ontario Pork stickers on their packaging. This is in large part due to the fact that national grocery store chains like to buy nationally. Another issue is the cost associated with this labelling. However if you are in a grocery store and want to find Ontario pork, ask the meat manager! Remember that you can vote with your purchase. If enough people request Ontario products then the supermarkets will make more of an effort to make sure their products are sourced locally.

Canadian:  Fresh pork is now labelled “Canadian Pork” at participating grocery stores although, not all grocery stores are applying the label. This label allows consumers the opportunity to identify and choose Canadian pork. Demand for Canadian pork is strong worldwide because of its reputation for outstanding quality. The on-farm Canadian Quality Assurance® (CQA®) program is the pork industry’s commitment to consumers that pork products meet the highest food safety standards. Larger retailers primarily buy their pork from Maple Leaf or Quality who source their pork nationally. The larger Foodservice distributors like Sysco and Gordon Food Service also source their pork nationally. If you can’t find fresh pork with the new Canadian Pork label, ask the meat manager and once again, remember to vote with your purchase to show the food sales industry that supporting Canada matters to you!

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