“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-
Where have all the locals gone? When I lived in a tiny loft in the country about one hour from Vancouver, I could see an eerie glow in the night sky; the lights of line upon line of greenhouses zealously growing produce of all types in all seasons. These vast greenhouse growing operations could be seen from miles around, in fact, they were often the bane of their neighbours who complained of sleepless nights. My concern with them is this: where has all that local produce gone? A shopping trip to any large grocery chain in B.C. will most certainly not turn up any local produce at all. I wish that I could have recorded the look on the Save On Foods produce manager’s face when asked where the “local” produce was; I might just as well have asked him where he stocked the Martians. There just is not any…none…zip…nil…nada. I’m sure glad I did not make ‘buy local produce’ as one of my New Year’s Resolution choices yet. I suspected as much; all produce at our large grocery chains comes from out of country.
With regard to export and import, consider the movement of produce across vast distances. It is ludicrous to ship our fine, local grown produce across the world and then turn around and import similar produce often of lesser quality from across the world. Why for instance is it next to impossible to find B.C. grown apples in B.C.? What we have on our grocery shelves is from Mexico and it is suspect in terms of being healthy quality food. In winter we have the capacity and technology to grow a wide array of produce which could be for local use. Why export? Why use fossil fuels to ship back and forth across the world? Why not sell locally? It is incredible to log the miles, gallons of fossil fuels, damage to the environment and other related costs of a single apple purchased at Safeway. I get the profitability angle but it still borders on insanity to operate an economy in this manner.
Our consumerism frenzied society needs to rebel against what has become the aberrant norm. An eyes-open stance is needed, a refusal to buy imported produce is needed; a commitment to buying local produce only is the key to changing the madness of shipping produce back and forth. It takes certain strength of character to maintain an appetite for less variety and a diet based on what is seasonally available regarding local produce. But it is not impossible to maintain a healthy fruit and vegetable intake based on locally grown produce. Freezing, canning and dehydrating are all practical techniques to maintain a supply of local fruits and vegetables over the winter months. Growing up, in Manitoba, we had a huge family garden, a freezer, storage cupboards lined with home canned fruits and vegetables and a cold room in the basement for root vegetables and potatoes. I know it is doable…and I will do it.
Today’s “stone” is Day 35 garden greens, home-grown, spring plans emerge