Public awareness of food waste is currently at an all-time high. Every day seems to bring news of entrepreneurs, researchers and experts who are talking about wasted food and food rescue. All of this attention makes Second Harvest's Executive Director Debra Lawson hopeful that awareness will translate to action.
In May 2015, the French government did something incredible: the National Assembly unanimously passed a law forcing large supermarkets to donate unsold food to charities. That's how the #WhatAWaste campaign -- a grassroots effort to pressure Canada's political leaders to follow France's example -- was born.
When it comes down to it, it's not really a case of being pro- or anti-GMO. It's a case of being anti-corruption and pro-democratic. When hugely powerful corporations flex their political and financial muscle, they can and do effectively slant science, politics and regulation to suit their own self-interest.
The food industry is notoriously misleading, undeniably corrupt, and has the one of the largest revenue streams in the world. Coca Cola has lobbyists in Washington, and the meat industry makes no bones about being in bed with the political process. Despite our leaps and bounds in medical science, why can't we effectively tackle the obesity epidemic?
If you've purchased any local Ontario food before, it probably came from this region you've likely never heard of. In fact, it is the number one producer of tomatoes, carrots, seed corn, cucumbers, pumpkins, sugar beets and brussels sprouts in all of Canada. However, none of it is being consumed by its community members.
Buying fresh, local food is a priority for many people, but it's not as easy as it sounds. Do you really know where your food comes from? Ask a few questions and you may just find the "local" food you're paying a premium for at your farmers' market or grocery store has traveled way farther than you'd like to think. It's no wonder we're all confused about where to get fresh and healthy food.
We've been at it for almost 10 years, and grow about 10 acres of vegetables every season. We're absurdly tiny compared to most conventional vegetable farms, but we don't plan to get any bigger, because we're doing just fine. Our farm is debt-free, profitable and employs both of us full-time. And we're far from alone.
In these heady days of waste reduction and sustainable food production, food recovery tackles our most bourgeois societal needs for perfect looking produce. For decades, North Americans have been turning their noses up at apple wormholes and rusty romaine lettuce, and produce retailers have caught on.
It's amazing to me that people argue organic vs. local when it comes to their food. Is organic only for those who don't want toxins in their bodies, and local is reserved only for environmentalists who weigh their food miles? It's actually best that we all strive to be eating local AND organic food. Our grandparents ate "organically" and locally.
The Bowman vs Monsanto Supreme Court hearing is big news in the United States and we are seeing ripple effects of it up here in Canada. Although some headlines sparked by interest groups that oppose modern agricultural production methods, including use of genetically modified (GM) crops, might suggest otherwise, this case is not about farm-saved seed.
Growing up I remember my mom saying this when I didn't finish my food. And by the sounds of it, others could benefit from remembering this popular idiom as well. Recently I read that the average American throws away 396 pounds of food each year, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. This statistic doesn't surprise me.
The Health Check program is meant to help those going to restaurants and fast food restaurants to make better menu choices. But when you search their product list for Health Check'd vegetables there are zero. Health Check is in need of a makeover. The program needs to promote fresh fruit not fruit juice; it needs to encourage eating at home not at restaurants. Or it needs to cease and desist.
The average Canadian likely knows more about the "Caramilk secret" than it does about the issues currently on the table in two major trade negotiations that could significantly impact the Canadian food industry. Clues about the status of the talks and the issues on the table have largely come only through leaked information and speculation.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food recently toured Canada and reported, "very desperate conditions, and people who are in extremely dire straits" in terms of hunger. The Conservative response was to deny the problem and to attack the credibility of the Rapporteur. The government is turning its back on almost three million Canadians who are struggling to meet their nutrition needs.
It is our duty as smart, informed shoppers to choose wisely and not be fooled. There are many simple things we can do to take back our health and make sure to not be duped into marketing propaganda from large corporations wanting to take our money. Remember, we vote with our dollars, so make every vote count.