Monday, October 3, 2011

Simple Suggestion #82... Buy local where possible

My local shopping mall has a nice little farmer's market every Saturday. One day I was there buying some onions, and a tiny little senior citizen shuffled up to me and asked, "Nice onions?"
"Yes," I replied.
She came in closer to see for herself, then said, "Hmmph. They're cheaper at Safeway." And off she went to the big grocery store further down the mall.

Don't you just hate it when you think of what to say long after the opportunity has passed? What I should have said was that Safeway's onions probably come from California, and they're not so cheap when you add in the poorly-paid labour of the migrant workers who harvested them, the cost of the gasoline to transport them thousands of kilometres, and the carbon emissions of the trucks that brought them so far north. I could have suggested that we really ought to be supporting our local farmers, encouraging them by buying their produce so that they can grow more food for local markets, because there may come a day when the price of transporting onions from California will be prohibitive, or crops down there will fail, or there will be other reasons that we will need our farmers here to be doing well. If I would have pointed out to her that I don't mind paying a little more for my onions because they taste fresher than Safeway's and I like to kibbitz with the man who grew them and brought them to the mall in his truck, I wonder if she might have understood the happiness that comes from knowing where my produce originates and who is benefitting from its sale.

Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Next time, I'll be more prepared to defend the simplicity of buying from my local producer.

What's your favourite local product?

P.S. Looking for more Simple Suggestions? Try here.

1 comment:

  1. I feel the same way. People don't realize how lucky we are. There are people elsewhere living in a food desert, such a scary thing!

    I love Coal Lake Honey,45 bucks for a big tub of raw honey that has helped my allergies and skin..that's a great deal to me:)

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