What is it?
What part do you play in the movement?
How does our farm contribute to it?
Over the past few years we have seen an increasing awareness of where, how and by whom our food is produced. This has led to a local food movement springing to life.
But what does local mean? Larry and I were recently invited to join an Alberta government round table discussion that revolved around this basic concept. They want to attempt to set a standard definition for Albertans to help eliminate confusion. As we found out though, “local” has as many definitions as there are people defining it.
Defining “Local” Food
How would you define it? Is it food that is grown in your backyard, within a 50 km, 100 km, or 1000 km radius from your home? Or is it food that is grown on the other side of the world in the “global community”.
Our family defines local food by questioning how far it travels from field to fork, how was it grown and by whom it was grown.
Let’s use the common carrot as an example. Can we grow carrots in our personal garden or do we have to the grocery stores to source it? For us we can obviously grow it here. So for our family if we can grow the food here we will not purchase something that has been grown far away and by someone we don’t necessarily know.
If we cannot produce enough of an item to fulfill our family’s needs we then look to people with a 100 km range who are using growing practices that are in line with our expectations. For us that means that organic growing practices must be observed. But you ask, “how can I know how they produce the food they grow?” We build relationships with our food producers. We ask them for details about their growing practices. If they can’t give us clear and concise answers we probably won’t buy from them. If they don’t have an open-door policy on their farm we tend to question their practices. Like Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia, we believe that we need to earn your trust. One way we do this is by having an open door policy on our farm. We invite our customers to visit the farm.
We are also aware that in our northern climate we can’t grow fruits and veggies year round without the use of heated greenhouses which make for very costly food. To combat the short growing season we practice “old-fashion” food preservation methods like canning, dehydrating and freezer. We encourage others to implement this practice by teaching courses in safe food preservation methods. By preserving the bounty of the growing season we actually extend it.
We also raise animals for food on our farm. We take advantage of spring, summer and fall to grow and process meat chickens, turkeys and ducks. Eggs are also very plentiful around here in the warm seasons. Cattle, sheep and goats round out the animals on the farm. They are at home here year round. They have been created to survive quite well in our extremely cold winters.
So, what about things like coffee for example that we can’t grow in our region? We have made the decision to purchase only certified organic products when we do have to purchase from places far away and that we don’t have a personal relationship with. We want to know the story behind our food.
This is the part we play as a family in the “local” food movement. Our farm also contributes to the movement. Our mission statement is: “Nourishing our community one family at a time”. This, I believe is the root of this movement. Relationships with the people who produce the food you use for your family. We provide our community with access to farm-fresh, locally grown meats and eggs. The meat that you purchase from our farm has come from animals that are born and raised here their whole lives. They are fed only foods that were designed for them. And on that “one bad day of their life” they are humanely processed by small-scale local companies or right here on the farm.
Are you Curious About “Local” Food?
If you want to learn more about our farm we invite you to visit us at the farm or you can contact us here with any questions you may have.
We feel privileged when you allow us the opportunity to help you gain a deeper understanding into the local food economy.
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