Food sustainability, food security, GMO’s (genetically modified organism), these are words that we’re hearing more and more of.
Whatever happened to just plain meat and potatoes on the table? It seems it is getting harder and harder to put a meal on the table without having to consider other factors.
Communities are working toward putting together plans for assurance of food availability. What is food security? It is when everyone has access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and preferences.
Food sustainability is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, or the study of relationships between organisms and their environment.
Toward this end, we see farmers markets, community gardens, more demand for local food and people growing produce instead of grass in the back yard (or maybe even the one in front).
Factors which have been identified as contributing to the rise in food prices recently include, higher energy prices, the demand for food from economic growth, rising income, distorted subsidies, subsidizing the production of bio-fuels instead of food production, lack of investment in the agricultural section and imposed export restrictions.
These factors are being exacerbated by global climate change as well.
More then 70 per cent of North Americans believe that trading privileges with other countries, such as China and India, should be suspended and are looking to government to do this.
The question here is why government? Can the population not take control of this situation and simply not buy products imported from these countries?
This should produce a loud and clear message that we are not interested in imported substandard food products.
If 200 million North Americans refused to buy just $20 each in overseas goods, this would result in a $1 billion trade imbalance in our favor.
Start now and do not stop; we can take control and make change.
Another large concern is whether the food we consume is fake or real. Do you take the time to read a label when purchasing a product to see what is in it?
How many real blueberries do you think are in that box of blueberry cereal, those muffins or Pop-Tarts? Examine the label and surprise; none. The blueberry flavors are made up of sugars, hydrogenated oils and Blue # 2, Red # 40 and Green #3. Some even call the blueberries “crunchlets.”
Packages can be deceiving, showing a nice fresh berry and yet contain none.
What is the country of origin stated on the package? There are not many manufacturers remaining in Canada or the USA today.
A package of frozen fish may say “Pacific Salmon” but in reading the label, you may find it is farmed and processed in China. Bick’s pickles, once huge in Ontario, has moved its operations to India.
Does this mean that cucumbers can no longer grow in Ontario?
No, it is just a matter of cheaper labor and production costs with the end result of course being that cucumbers are no longer grown for production.
Do your part in making your community food secure. Demand local and buy local.
Finishing touches are being done on a Boundary Agricultural Plan.
It is hoped that this study can be released in the fall and if it is, we will be looking into the feasibility of hiring an Agricultural Development Officer, who would direct the area toward becoming once again agriculturally sustainable.
Irene Perepolkin is Area D director for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB)