What’s it Worth?

The Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture recently released a report called Are Nova Scotians Eating Local. The answer? Not so much.

Despite “buy local” campaigns, Nova Scotians spend only about 13 per cent of their food dollars on local food, the same amount they were spending in 2008 and a drop from 17 per cent in 1997.

The Nova Scotia study found that over 60 products on average travel nearly 4,000 kilometres before they land on the plates of residents in this eastern Canadian province.

One reason for the lack of local food support may be the price.
Last week while camping in Nova Scotia, a fellow camper commented that her first corn feast of the season rang in at $9 a dozen — pretty steep compared to what roadside stands and farm markets have charged in past years (however, I realized later, if you do the math, it is only 75 cents an ear).

Sticker shock may be working against “buy local” campaigns. At the same time, large grocery store chains, notorious for not supporting local farmers, likely aren’t helping either. And if that’s the case, I bet you six dozen corn that New Brunswickers spend even less on local food.

Roadside markets are a dime a dozen in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. In Metro Moncton — New Brunswick’s largest municipal region — unless you’re at the Saturday morning farm markets, there are very few places to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The alternative? Heading to the grocery store, driving many kilometres to find a roadside stand or waiting until the next time the market is open. Summer is too short for that!

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