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.
Some people inject food poison bacteria into their face; we do chemical peels that make our skin burn and we continue to invest in commercial creams and lotions that claim to reverse aging. I'm certainly not going to judge anyone for wanting to retain their youth, but I believe there have to be better options like natural, effective, cruelty-free alternatives to costly and possibly dodgy chemical concoctions.
In reality, Halloween produces more boos, eeks, screeches and ding dongs than we should tolerate. From the toxic candy, to the phthalate-laced costumes and the insane amount of waste generated, it's challenging to consider it good, clean fun. Thankfully there are a few things we can do to make sure our kids don't hate us, and our neighbours, family and friends don't ridicule us.
Of course, the reasonable side of me remains a bit conflicted, because the price of buying organic food for 5 people is extraordinary (organic foods cost around 20 per cent more than conventional). So I buy organic when I can, and when I think it's worthwhile. Organic grain products, and most fruits and vegetables: good. Organic milk? Not necessary, because in Canada, there are no hormones or antibiotics in the milk.
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.
In the last several years I have become more and more aware of how disconnected the average consumer is from agriculture. Most people are now living in urban centres and have no connection to the farm. This stranger was a perfect example of this. He had many questions and many misconceptions about modern agriculture.
Ask anyone with a shred of a conscience, and they'll tell you that they want a cleaner and more equitable world. With the rise of social media, consumers are becoming increasingly more intelligent and aware of the implications of their purchases. We are shopping not only for value, but with values. That's a major culture shift.
My career in culinary tourism development is founded in the authentic connection between growers, producers and chefs. Showcasing businesses that are giving the consumer a true "taste of place" by serving the freshest, seasonal food. Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of finding out just how Chipotle walks the talk.
This year, I think it's time to do away with your grassy lawn and replace it with food! That's right, having your own vegetable garden has always been smart, but now, it's also trendy. Let's hear it for eco-progress! Here are nine reasons that you should get planning and planting your urban farm (or even a simple herb garden) today...