The 50 km radius is out. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency loosens the definition of what’s ‘local’ drawing both cheers and jeers from farmers across the country.
Applying a “locally grown” or “local” label to produce just got easier.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) announced that they’ve scrapped the generic 50km radius rule and adopted an interim definition of:
Farmers far from major city centres embrace the changes – especially large provinces like Ontario. For example, farmers in Sudbury can now sell their produce as ‘local’ in Toronto Farmer’s Markets (despite traveling close to 400 km to get there).
Imagine how ecstatic potato farmers in Kenora must be now that they can sell their crop as ‘local’ 1850 km away in the Toronto markets. That’s how far oranges grown in Jacksonville, Florida travel to get to the Toronto market.
That’s the reality that has The Kootenay Co-op in Nelson, BC up in arms (considering how big BC is). After all, the premise of shopping local was spurred by a community-minded desire to support local farmers and, in consideration of the environment, to minimize our foods’ carbon footprint.
It looks like this new definition is good for farmers (aka the economy) but bad for the locavore movement.
Local is as Local Does. If you’re a locavore, you decide what it means to you (and shop accordingly). For some its 100 miles; for others its 100 meters – set your own boundaries according to your geographical limitations and go forth with integrity.
Have a Voice in the Community. If you frequent your local farmer’s market, why not play a role in how they define ‘local’. Most markets are run by passionate locals (not just farmers), so join in or at least share your thoughts on what constitutes local and help shape their policies.
Look Beyond the Labels. It doesn’t really matter if there’s a big fat “local” label on something; you’re capable of reading the rest of the label that will reveal where it was grown, baked or made. Use your own GPS (and conscience) to shop.
Share Your Definition. The CFIA has been clear about this new labeling being an interim solution. They want to hear from people like the Kootenay Co-op and the growers in Sudbury. Your voice is also important, so chime in with your thoughts to help shape our national definition of ‘local food.’
Whether you’ve drawn the lines according to provincial borders or created a radius from your home garden, we support you supporting the locavore movement!
So, tell us, how DO you define local? Does a provincial border factor into your definition? Do you think these new label regulations are more misleading than before?