A New Year brings with it all kinds of intentions. Brimming with the optimism a fresh calendar brings, perhaps a little weary of holiday indulgence, we’re ready to make change.
It goes almost without saying that around here, we’re interested in deepening our commitment and connection to local food.
Of course, there’s a precedent for this — changing food habits is a well-worn path in the early weeks of a new year, and it was a one-year resolution (set on the first day of spring) that first kicked off the global 100-mile diet movement, when Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon started writing about their local-only eating experiment in 2005.
For some, a shift to consciously buying a greater portion of their grocery bill from local farms will be a big, and worthwhile change. If your regular, weekly food purchasing doesn’t often consider a food’s point of origin, consider that. Consider making a change.
We, along with many of our readers, are ready to move on to the next level. We’re thinking about the move beyond individual choices in the grocery store and the farmer’s market, and wondering what else we might do to support and strengthen local food within our community.
At this point, access to local food is often a privilege, limited by geographic or financial barriers. Sometimes the farmers at the farmer’s market didn’t even grow the produce they say they did. Sometimes, local food isn’t ethically grown or harvested, as migrant workers labour in unsafe conditions or under precarious employment. Sometimes political motives exclude local farms from the local farmers market.
What’s a newly resolved locavore to do?
Support and participate in community gardens in underserved neighbourhoods. Grow a row in your own garden for the local food bank.
Follow the work of groups like Harvesting Freedom, who advocate and hold space for migrant workers, whose voices often go unheard.
Ask for local at the big chain grocery store. Let them know there’s consumer demand for it.
Keep shopping at the farmer’s market, but ask questions, and get to know both your farmers and their farms.
Any good resolution for the year ahead is rooted in becoming more aware of our own habits, and simply paying attention to food in our community will have benefits that extend beyond 2018. Change your community, change your life.