I have been receiving most of my groceries from Local Farms Food Delivery. For $20 a week I get a box full of organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, a loaf of locally baked bread and a half dozen brown eggs laid by locally dwelling free-range chickens. The box is delivered to my work by the friendly guys who run the business.
Its always a surprise to see what I get because they choose food that’s in season. So far I’ve received tomatoes, red and orange peppers, asparagus, apples, potatoes and more. This week I even got beets!
When I open the box and pull out the produce, I’m always impressed by how fresh it is. In my last delivery, the tomatoes and cucumbers couldn’t have been off the vine more than a few hours, and the red pepper weighed a full pound!
50 years ago 85% of food consumed on Vancouver Island was grown here. Now it’s less than 10%. Most of our food comes from the US, Mexico, Chile and overseas. It’s cheaper for big chain grocery stores to grow our food in third world countries and truck it here, than it is to grow it locally. Plus, people expect to get fresh tomatoes and zucchini year-round.
Having a selection from the full spectrum of fruits and vegetables year-round is a luxury for those of us living in the first-world, but it’s not sustainable. Produce that doesn’t grow here for months of the year – or at all – has to be trucked a great distance, and covered in preservatives to keep it available and ‘fresh’. Both the transportation and the chemicals are a burden on the environment.
Even at the grocery store I try really hard to buy things that are in season. We’re lucky to live in a climate that is capable of growing a variety of foods during many months of the year. There is no reason to buy tomatoes grown in the South when local farmers are growing them as well. And it’s easy to buy frozen or canned foods when they go out of season. After all, that’s what our ancestors did. I do like to treat myself to the odd avocado!
As for my organic food box, I might be able to get this quantity of food in the grocery store for a bit less (and in December), but most of it would have to come from California or Mexico, and would be covered in pesticides. Because I’m buying it from Local Farms Food Delivery, I’m supporting local economy since my grocery dollars aren’t leaving the island. I’m supporting the environment because the food is pesticide-free and hasn’t been trucked a great distance, and I’m doing a favour to my own body as well. Ingesting toxic chemicals (even after washing!) or heavily processed food is increasingly linked to health issues such as cancer.
Buying from a food distributor such as Local Farms Food Delivery is a great way to get all your produce from local sources, without having to do the sourcing yourself! If you live in the Victoria area, visit their website because they deliver for free and a large part of their proceeds go to supporting needy orphans in Uganda. I’m sure many other areas offer similar services.
If a food delivery isn’t for you, ActNow BC offers these useful charts to show you what BC-grown produce is in season, when. So keep it in mind the next time you go shopping, and try to avoid the clam-shell wrapped foreign strawberries placed right at the front of the store!