Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Safe, Nutritious, Active and Healthy. Always.

Safe, Nutritious, Active and Healthy. Always.

 A look at options for better food security

Author: Kawlin Rolfe 2015

Historically Canada has seen a wide range of agricultural accomplishments with proud communities developing around common goals.  Canada as a country is unfortunately limited in its growing seasons (the amount of time in a year available for farming.)  This means proper food production and storage has been critical in the development of provincial connections.

A large goal in most communities was originally food production, however it has become far too easy to rely on a big-box solution to the daily question of most Canadians: What should I eat tonight?

According to a study by PROOF, an organization dedicated to education on the reduction of food insecurity, 17.5% of Nova Scotian households experience food insecurity at some point.  This isn’t very surprising as our climate and geography isn’t necessarily one for prosperous food production.  However that doesn’t mean we can’t try and make something work in our environment.

In countries like Canada it is common to experience a variety of seasonal extremes, in order to adapt to this we have developed a strong relationships within our many isolated communities.  Perhaps it’s time- or the time has always been ripe- to bring back local food security.  This will require many different contributions, from various levels of public and private interest groups.

The consumerist approach to food shouldn’t be ignored, or looked down upon, however it should be evaluated and understood.  As an example; going to the store and choosing to buy a head of lettuce in February has become an average occurrence to many Nova Scotia families.  Sure, you might have to pay an extra few cents on the kilo because it’s out of season, but this head of lettuce will be a nice addition to the sandwiches that you’re taking to lunch for the remainder of the week.

What if that lettuce could be grown and harvested twenty minutes away and delivered to your local supermarket, farmers market, or perhaps directly to your front step-year round?  This would solve a large number of issues many Nova Scotia and Canadian households experience as a result of food isolation.

Instead of purchasing that head of lettuce in February, perhaps something else could be packed into your lunch that fits the season.  This doesn’t mean limiting your nutritional intake, it would simply mean identifying how to maintain a healthy lifestyle when the essential vegetables are covered with snow.

A movement known as ‘urban-farming’ has taken hold in many high density communities across the globe.  It is essentially when farming starts taking place close to its consumption point.  Detroit is an excellent example of this, having turned many abandoned buildings into green house and food production centers.  This type of development will undoubtedly become more frequent as transportation costs continue to increase.

This transition doesn’t mean Canada must change its array of produce and available goods.  (However, the sustainability of coconut availability should probably be addressed) It would simply require rethinking our current production and development of food industries- particularly where our food is produced.

The take away is that, Canada has the potential to continue its long history of community development, and food security will be a fore runner for assisting in this development.

Food Insecurity in Canada, CBC News Online:
Ground Transportation Rise in Cost, Canadian Shipper Online:
Detroit gets Growing, The Guardian Online: