If there’s one sentiment that is most common amongst the modern-day population, it’s that you can never be quite sure where exactly your food comes from, an ironic sentiment indeed considering that in many cases, it’s quite the opposite; the ubiquity of imports in the western food market, especially in the case of Canada, is very clearly observable from the sheer number of products that make very explicit where their origins are. And yet, here we are, pouring dozens of our financial resources into allowing this practice to remain dominant within our grocery stores.
To say that locally grown foods are an important aspect of the Canadian economy would be an extreme understatement. In fact, now more than ever, locally grown produce has served a massive role in supporting the residents of Ontario to live through the pandemic. Alas, as many would probably already assume, all good things eventually come to an end. As eager as people are to get out of the pandemic and return to their normal way of life, it’s fair to say that many may neglect the positive changes that have been brought about thanks in part to this otherwise catastrophic global phenomenon.
Having a large portion of dairy and egg production done on a local basis may be a good start, but it’s far from being an ideal scenario, especially since demand for even the most basic of resources has seen a drastic increase. If we wish to see a prosperous and efficient future for our food and water supplies in Canada, we need to go far beyond taking into consideration the needs of the people who need to use these resources, and start providing a helping hand to the people who give us these resources in the first place. Over the course of just two decades, between the 1970s and 1990s, close to 1.2 million ha of agricultural land in Canada was lost due to increasing urbanization of the country, and considering that the expansion of these urban areas is only on the rise, it’s safe to say that this statistic will show a far more grim future for the nation provided it were to be updated in the near future. Is it not bad enough that much of Ontario’s farmers already have to compete with the efficiency and speed of industrialized food production? Do you really want to live in a society where the choice of supporting your home grown produce is an ever growing niche, with fewer and fewer resources to achieve a means to an end by the day?
It is time to break the barriers keeping local food producers back, so they can further contribute to our food supply and economy, building the futures of Ontarians and local food producers together.