Friday, October 13, 2006

Readin' and Eatin'

Thursday’s Nanaimo Bulletin had a couple of local food related articles. The first is an article by Tom Fletcher titled “Fresh food imports aren’t so healthy”. According to a report from BC’s top public health official, Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s farms haven’t been protected enough to make them viable against the flood of imports. (well, duh.).

So what does the BC government propose as a way to strengthen small-scale local agriculture? Is it providing a work funding program to help local farmers hire workers? Is it helping the industry attract a new generation of farmers? Is it helping promote local farms as a source of year-round produce and food products to consumers, retailers and restaurants? Is it subsidizing the building of a much needed local slaughterhouse? Is it going to start an initiative to get local foods into school lunch menus?

Nope. It’s promoting farm tours.

OK. I know. One step at a time.

Well, go visit a farm. Watch where you step.

BTW, This weekend is Shady Mile’s Pumpkin Festival. While you’re in that neck of the woods on Saturday, go pop over the Gary Argyle’s farm stand at 2403 Maxey Road to grab your week’s produce and down to Westwood orchards (170 Westwood Road) to pick up some apples. Or head over to Nanoose Edibles' farm stand in Nanoose Bay to pick up some fresh from the farm organic produce. In other words, don't just look, buy and eat local!

This week, Dr. John Yim’s health column carried a very useful article on the benefits of locally grown products. First he starts off my teasing us with a list of the wonderful Thanksgiving feast his culinary diva of a wife provides. The article makes an informed argument for the benefits a local diet has for our personal health and the health of this planet. Global warming, extreme weather changes and other environmental crises can be overwhelming. Though it doesn’t seem like much, buying a locally grown apple versus one from New Zealand is a step towards the solution.

I’ll update the Nanaimo 100 Mile Diet Challenge website soon to tell you all about the local farms and vendors that will still be selling their products throughout the fall and winter.

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