Contributed by Elizabeth Stubbs
First we must define what local food is. I feel that the definition varies depending on who you talk to. In my mind, when I think local food I think Canadian consumers buying from Canadian producers. In my “perfect world” Canada would be a self-sufficient country. We have always been an export driven country, but my question is: has this hurt us more than it has helped? With Canada’s strict food safety measures our domestically produced goods and services do not come “cheap”. We import and export at the world price, with importing, consumers can get more goods for cheaper. With exporting at the world price, producers are getting lower prices than they would domestically and in turn aren’t able to cover all costs. So answer me this: how does free trade help our economy? Why do we not care for our producers? Farmers Feed Cities! But at this rate, how can farmers afford to do so? In 2007, 35% of the amount of goods produced in Canada were exported, 33% percent of that same production number was imported. This is an almost equal figure; so why not close off international trade and exchange goods only within our country? Canada has vast amounts of land suitable for agriculture; we have the means to be self-sufficient. And in becoming that way we would not hurt other countries. The imports that we would no longer require could be delegated to the places where we used to export – world trade would not be out of balance. It is not our responsibility as Canadians to feed the rest of the world when there are still people in our own country who are impoverished. I say: trade within our nation, boost our economy, and treat our producers with the respect they deserve, because without them we would not survive.