So, I found this article that really laid out the good and bad of local food. This article was written in the UK for the University of Essex, although it makes mention to North America. For me, this article was written to urbanites, or rural people that don’t own enough land to farm.
It goes into detail about the options for localizing food and the relationship between farmers and consumers.
Of its nine choices for people to get local food, I realized there were those options in my area!
Community Supported Agriculture – consumers pay growers for a share of the total farm produce, and growers provide a weekly share of food of a guaranteed quality and quantity. The Ignatius Jesuit Centre is a community shared farm outside of Guelph, Ontario. One of its main ideas centres around a community farm and selling shares for its crop yield.
Box Schemes – emphasise that payment is not just for the food, but for support of the farm as a whole. They are able to give jobs to more people.
Farmer’s Groups – these farms are used in a way that everyone contributes their knowledge to one farm.
Consumer Groups and Cooperatives – consumer groups are an important way to get good food to urban groups with no direct access to farms and the countryside.
Farmer’s Markets – sell produce directly to a consumer; also include farm shops and pink-your-own enterprises. Brantford has a wonderful farmer’s market right in the heart of the city.
Community Gardens – home gardens and allotments have long been important for home food production. They provide food for poorer urban groups and other important products such as wood, flowers, and herb. Brantford also has a community garden, where you can buy plots to plant for harvest or plant flowers. They also have a shed where any leftover food goes, and you can purchase it.
Clear Labeling – this option is to answer the question: can the food on the shelves be trusted? With clear labeling, or local food can solve this.
Food Webs and Local Shops – where have all the mom and pop shops gone? When shops move out of towns and villages, something important is lost. Mom and pop shops had people more conscientious about what they were eating.
Slow Food system – is all about slowing down the pace in communities. It started in Italy over concerns about fast food. They seek to protect local production from being driven into extinction by global brands. To do this they increase pedestrian zones, reduce traffic, encourage restaurants to offer local products, directly support local farmers, increase green spaces in cities, and conserve local aesthetic traditions.
In Part II I discuss the problems that this article has come up with dealing with local food.
How have you used the local food systems in your area? Tweet me @OliviaRutt or leave a comment.