ORDER FROM THE MESS: Locally grown, locally owned

Eating locally grown food is good for you and the local economy.

As spring slowly starts to show its face, gardens and farms everywhere are turning over soil, cataloging seed inventory and organizing green houses for another season of growing in the Valley.

It’s no surprise at how large the Farmers Market has grown in the past few years. I remember only four seasons ago just a handful of vendors. Now the Farmers Market Association is running out of space and vendors just keep popping’ up.

Despite having to fight off Old Man Winter much longer than our southern or eastern comrades, we grow some of the most nutritious, hearty, chemical-free produce in the country. And we do it in half the time.

It speaks volumes to the kind of resourcefulness farmers and growers in the north have had to resort to for decades.

And still every year it seems that we have more than we know what to do with.

So much so that organizations like Groundbreakers are able to offer food boxes filled with healthy organic produce all throughout the winter. Clearly people can’t get enough fresh veggies.

Why wait for the spring when you can have locally grown veggies all year around?

However, despite us having top notch agriculture at our fingertips, I must admit I still buy a lot of veg from the grocery store. A purchase that is inevitable at this point.

Solely because over the past 60 years our food production has become so mechanized that growing your own vegetables is as foreign to most as sowing your own jeans.

It’s easier to drive to Safeway than it is to put the effort in; get down on your knees, dig your hands into the moist, natural soil and plant some lettuce, or tomatoes, or spinach, or potatoes.

We have some half-baked standards when it comes to our food. Unlike our European neighbors, here in North American our bacterial paranoia when it comes to food is rampant.

Which is the reason for Europe’s 14 year ban on North American poultry, due to the fact we wash our chickens in chlorine.

However, if you sell chicken without it being dipped in chlorine the government regulators would shut you down in five minutes flat. But when the government approves free trade food shipments from Mexico or Peru, where food regulations are virtually nonexistent. But still for government and regulators ‘it’s all about price really.’

Nutrition is an after thought. So as the first seedlings start to sprout in the Valley we should all consider ourselves so lucky. Soon we won’t need to rely on vegetables from Timbuktu. Rather, we’ll be able to find it right in our own backyards and support our local producers.

Why support subsidized food production thousands of kilometres away, when here it’s locally grown and locally owned? Why buy food you have no idea where it came from? When you can take a short jaunt down to the local market and find, literally, some of the best food on the planet.

Because after all, we are what we eat.

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