More local food production supports our local economy. Buying food from a local grower helps our neighbours support themselves. And it keeps the money circulating here -- one study found that a dollar spent on local food generates twice as much income for the local economy as a dollar spent on food that's trucked, ferried or flown in.
Local food improves our health, too. Produce in a supermarket has been traveling for days, or even weeks. It has lost nutritional value, while local food is often sold the same day it's picked. Fresh-picked foods also last longer in your kitchen -- and they taste better.
When we eat food that's grown in or near our home, we help to cut down on fuel emissions. And we make our community's food supply less vulnerable to the rising cost of oil, which may soon put imported food out of our reach. It's more sustainable all around.
Seems like a no-brainer to me: We should be promoting and supporting local food production.
Yet our federal government, which gets its tax dollars from local people across Canada, is currently finalizing negotiations for CETA, the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Many groups are strongly opposed, including the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives.
Most Canadians are unaware of this trade agreement, which could dramatically affect our ability to develop local food security.
The terms of this agreement affect the farmer’s ability to save, reuse, exchange, and sell seed. It puts dairy, poultry and egg supply management at risk.
Canadian farmers, not surprisingly, are very concerned. No wonder -- they had a harsh experience as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- 80,000 farms have disappeared, and rural communities are devastated.
- Exports have tripled, yet farm debt has also tripled -- to $64 billion.
- Realized net income for farmers has been negative since 2002.
If elected on November 19th, I will work to increase our ability to produce and buy local food. One of the top items on my list will be to pressure the federal government to protect our local rights to grow and produce food -- without interference from vested interest groups, in Europe, in Ottawa, or anywhere else.