The Grocery List - How Much of Yours is Local?
After attending the Conscious Food Festival here in Toronto a few weeks ago, I realized that I could not attend without examining my own personal food buying habits.
The first thing I noticed is that on my usual shopping run, I stick to what the experts tell you is the healthiest way to shop, which is sticking to the outside aisles - fresh fruits, veggies, and other non-processed foods.
What I also noticed is that considering there are many non-local foods that I purchase, the breakdown of my spending habits is pretty decent:
From the picture above, the group of fruits and veggies to the far left are all produce items that were grown within my province - plums, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, lettuce, onions and apples. By volume, my local fare was over half of my overall food purchase. This surprised me in a very good way, as it made me connect all the work that local farmers do here in Ontario with what I eat.
The second group, which was less than one quarter by volume of my total purchase, were fruits (no veggies in this section) that were from outside of Canada - grapes, blueberries and raspberries. Because I pretty much only eat fruits for breakfasts, I can't get by without having these items.
The last group to the far left, are those items that I needed to get from outside of North America - oranges and avocados. These are items that (unless I can pick up Florida oranges) have to come from tropical climates.
Overall, this process opened my eyes to the benefits of understanding where food comes from. When we think about the environmental costs for tankers to ship our foods here from overseas, it then seems inevitable that we should consider the eco benefits of the fractional footprint of buying from our local farmer's markets.
What's in your shopping bag this week?