Tuesday, 2 July 2013

the Local food movement versus globalized food system

a recent story  on July 2nd on the Farm news on CKNX


here is my comment on the issue

I think Al Mussels interview misses one key point. The Local food debate is basically coming from consumers concerned that the agriculture agenda misses the largest group affected, consumers. The Local food movement grows out of the concerned about the food they eat and realizing that they can influence the debate (or lack of a debate) with their food dollars. While Huron County doesn't expect to sell all their pork in Huron county it would be nice if more consumers could buy local pork. But what we see instead is large pork processing companies making it harder to be able to buy local pork by influencing policy about food processing plants. Regulation more than market forces have forced the closure of most local kill floors for local product meaning there isn't the ability of local farmers to market there naturally raised or Organic pork into this niche market. Our local fresh vegetable growers are much smaller than consumer demand. I don’t think Local food will ever replace the need for us to export food especially for the commodities which Ontario has a competitive advantage in.

 The other part of the local food movement is to give primary producers a bigger share of the consumers food dollar. 

Local food is produced with Canadian environmental, labour and health standards which can’t always be said for the imported food from countries such as the US which make use of Illegal Immigrants to produce the food which then competes in Canada at unfair or dumped prices. This is especially true of US meat products.

I believe it isn't an either /or situation. There is room for both Models but don’t try to tell consumers not to use their food dollars to influence this debate. 

At one time the George Morris center  and other like minded agricultural economists advocated sacrificing the fresh vegetable and fruit markets due to our lack of competitiveness which would have left us at the mercy of foreign food policies for future supply.

 I do however appreciate their being part of the local food debate.

here is another article for more issues on local being the wrong question  


another look at the issue