September 1, 2023
Certainly, over the years, we have changed from predominantly rural residents growing our own food to urbanites with lawns and asphalt yards, so not even a garden. That change has shifted the source of our food to the grocery store.
In Canada, at least, that has generally worked out fine in the sense store shelves are typically well-stocked, although the COVID pandemic illustrated that the supply chain can be threatened by unexpected forces. There is the cost factor. We all recognize food prices can climb rather quickly - although in terms of what we spend monthly, it may still be more reasonable than we think.
People point to the cost of going to the grocery store but rarely is a bag of groceries just about food for supper. Grocery store purchases tend to include everything from disposable razors to laundry soap, to batteries for the smoke detector to cotton swaps, so that needs to be remembered when thinking about food costs.
That said, food costs are something the consumer needs to watch. There is also another factor to consider in terms of our food: how it impacts our world as it gets from farm to table. For example, there are a lot of fossil fuels involved in transporting food. A recent television ad promoted a pizza crust that was 'hand thrown in Italy.' Imagine the process of getting that crust from Italy to a Saskatchewan grocery store.
We grow wheat here, so creating flour and making pizza dough need not be done half a world away and then transported across an ocean to get to our table. Walk around a grocery store, and you will find countless examples of foods processed far from Saskatchewan, and that means diesel for trucking and plastics or cans for containers that then go to the landfill or through to recycle, which has its own costs.
Even consider milk. There were once processors in many communities across the Prairies. Today, raw milk can be hauled hundreds of miles to process, then hauled back to a store to be sold. That consumes a lot of resources.
There is a lot of talk about reducing our carbon footprint and reducing consumption of fossil fuels to reduce emissions. Putting added focus on local food sources is certainly a step to being greener. How we devolve to an earlier time of more backyard gardens and more local processing could well be important to our planet's future.
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