Mixed Messages…Local Schmocal

A local grocery giant is running compelling commercials demonstrating their commitment to eating local and persuading people to support local farmers by going to their store and voting with your wallet.

Their definition of local appears to be Canadian.  This is not unique but important to mention for clarity on their delivery.  We live in the second largest country in the world and veggies can travel more than 4,000 kilometers within our borders and still be considered local according to the Nationalist definition.  We published the story of Whitey the long haul trucker (The Real Cost of Food) which is a good compliment to this post.

I went to one of their stores yesterday.  The entrance was filled with Canadian produce.  It was an impressive start.  I started to count the amount of imported produce versus that which was Canadian.  We are in the middle of harvest season and I expected more.

I stopped counting when I got to a count of 117-15.  Imports were almost 10-1 over the local food.

There were more than a dozen types of apples – 2 were from Canada.  Chille, Argentina, France, New Zealand were all there.  There were pears from China, Argentina and South Africa – it took me two passes of the produce section to find Canadian pears but you had to buy them by the 3 liter basket

We are very big proponents of buying consciously – understanding what we buy and choosing who we support.  Sometimes that includes buying food from far away – it’s difficult to make marmalade without citrus after all.  We are not close to 100% organic or local – we are trying to do our part wherever possible.

I am not condemning the store – I don’t know the issues of getting more local food.  Maybe it wasn’t available…  Maybe local farmers are refusing to sell them…  Maybe they are supporting local more than any other big chain and will sell more and more local if people are willing to buy it.  I don’t know the details – I just find myself confused when comparing the reality to the images of the advertisements.


  1. [...] issues, so imports still outnumber local products, and given research done by bloggers and other local food advocates, the supposed figure of 40% local at peak season seems really [...]

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