Is Nova Scotia Eating Local?

Last summer, the Ecology Action Centre and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture released a report entitled “Is Nova Scotia Eating Local”?

The grim facts: In 2008, only 13% of the food dollar returned to Nova Scotia farmers.  This has decreased from 17% in 1997.

The main theme that emerged from Is Nova Scotia Eating Local? is about making prices more ‘real’. For instance, the price of food should reflect the real cost of producing it. The supply managed dairy and poultry sectors, although not perfect, have helped to put dairy and poultry products on store shelves at a price that reflects the cost of production. They have also managed, to a certain extent, to match supply with demand. That should at least be a goal with the other agricultural sectors. In the case of products that can be grown here, assess supply, assess demand, and see what can be done to match the two.

The real cost of producing food should include fair wages for farmers and their workers as well as the ability to steward the land. People and the land should not be ‘used up’ in the process of growing food.

Over the past few months, we’ve been going through the report, two chapters at a time, at our monthly Food Action Committee meeting.  As we discussed the chapters this month, it occurred to me that we could be having a parallel discussion online.

You can download the full report and executive summary here.   At our January meeting, we covered the “Self Reliance” and “Distance and Emissions of a Food Basket” chapters.  In the next few days, I’ll post a short summery of the chapter and open it up for discussion.

Yours in Food,

4 thoughts on “Is Nova Scotia Eating Local?

  1. Wow, so sad that so little of the common public is buying food from Nova Scotia. Ours is a higher percentage but not as high as I’d like due to finances (and some things we use a lot of aren’t grown here, like coconut products, olive oil, bananas/oranges, well, you know 😉 ).

    It is disturbing that the cost of many foods from big producers, such as convenience items foods, don’t reflect the true cost. I know a lot are covered in subsidies which allows them to have a low price tag, which can seem more attractive and lead people to buy more junk (notice how a certain big name brand of cookies are often 99 cents at Shoppers? That is not a true cost). Some things simply are not manufactured or grown here in amounts to feed everyone (and the local produce this time of year leaves much to be desired for many) and thus it isn’t fair to compare but in general, we can do much better.

    I know personally I try to buy from NS. We plan our vacations around buying food from around Nova Scotia and I am a regular visitor to our Farmers Market, when it’s open and I am anxious to take part in a CSA this spring (and it’s year round!). I like taking the kids to places so they can see where food comes from. I like knowing where it comes from!

    Anyway, I am a new visitor to this blog and I can see that I will have to go through and read since local food is a passion of mine 🙂

  2. Carla, thanks so much for your comments.

    One of the things that really worries me in regards to convenience foods – on top of health concerns of course – is the lack of food skills used to prepare such “foods”. Eating frozen dinners does not require us to chop, cook or even stir – all important skills to feeding ourselves and our family healthy local meals.

    On the topic of seasonal availability, I have recently learned quite a few things. Check out the posts (including recipes) from our recent cooking classes for ideas on eating locally in the winter. Also, Marla’s recent post on sprouting. Last night I started some sprouts actually – mung beans and popcorn. Food skills can also do a lot to improve our ability to eat locally in the winter – canning, freezing, fermenting, and drying are great ways to enjoy some of our favourite goodies all year. My next project is to try making jerky. I am a “vegetarian” with a weekness for (local) jerky!

    Thanks Carla,

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