Eat local- a buzzword for wealthy urbanites, or a revolutionary new vision for food?
Do we even need to eat local? Skyscraper farming, eating local in Winnipeg winters, artisan farmers: Discuss!
Alphabet City Discussion Two: Eat Local
Climate-wise, can it actually sustain itself around the entire country?
Eat local: a buzzword with increasing cache in major centres. In Canada, that means Toronto and Vancouver, where both climate and population can support local eating habits through much of the year. But what about the rest of the country, from Edmonton and Winnipeg to Yellowknife and northern Quebec, where the climate is harsh and farming nearly impossible under the new paradigm of eating locally? Can “eat local” have any lasting meaning or value in those places? More on “eat local,” here.
Do we even have enough farmers?
We live and work in a society that not only doesn?t know about the production of food, it doesn’t want to. Where are the new farmers? The answer is, there isn?t any. Land is expensive, and the sons and daughters of our farmers are moving to the cities. If the younger generation is replaced at all, it’s often by small-scale producers, more environmental activist than farmer, who grow organic for a small customer-base. Their produce will never appear in the larger supermarkets where most people shop, and can afford to shop, and where eating local won’t be appearing on the shelves anytime soon. More on losing farmers, here.
The FarmCity... the new urban future for eating local?
So, how can we expect food production to become part of our future urban areas? In FOOD, Chris Hardwicke examines the notion of a Farm City, where skyscrapers house both people and greenhouse agriculture. As humans increasingly become urban-dwelling creatures, could this be the new future of “eat local,” where stockbrokers tend to their millions by day and their tomatoes by night? More on the FarmCity, here, here, and here.
Or should we just scrap the whole thing and stick to the path we’re on?
There’s nothing historically new about importing food, but where once only the most exotic goods were moved across trade routes, today, we bring our basic staples in from foreign lands. That may be a worrying trend (can a nation sustain itself without a strong agricultural base?), but the reality is that more people have access to a steady supply of food than ever before in history. For the vast majority of Canadians, worrying over where our next meal is coming from is a foreign concept.
Eating locally has spawned plenty of ideas and ideals, but does it really have a practical future? And do we even need it? There are many opinions and options that can and have been discussed, what are yours?