Written By: Sarah M. – TCR Volunteer.
A promising new environmental movement, choosing locally-grown foods is becoming a popular trend. Labeled the “locavore diet” by Sarah Elton, choosing produce and animal products closer to home is a healthier, ethical, and environmentally-conscious decision. So much more than just another trend, localizing agriculture is the process of bringing it back to a sustainable cycle, which globalization has broken-down in its “time is money” way of thinking. This needs to be one of the main focuses for the 21st century to combat global warming and an array of other environmental problems. Choosing local food usually means that it is also organic. It cycles money back into local communities and in some cases, even empowers communities to grow their own food collectively! Here are some of the benefits of eating local food:
a) Reducing the transportation distance of food cuts down on the emissions that are released when we ship it overseas. Although certain foods are only available from warmer climates (for example, avocados), many of the fruits, vegetables and meat/dairy that can be eaten in season from Ontario are actually grown in California and shipped to Canada.
b) For exotic foods like bananas and avocados, it is advisable to choose fair-trade and organic options (preferably not from large corporations that have organic and non-organic products).
c) Choosing local food is about choosing it wisely. Many corporations have jumped onto the bandwagon and have started calling their products “local”, “natural”, “organic” or “free-range”. With limited market standards, most of these certifications are really corporate greenwashing.
d) Local foods are foods from local family farms, community gardens, or those grown in your house, roof or garden. Eating locally is eating by what the season has to offer wherever possible.
e) Eating locally should entail eating less processed foods. It is a step away from corporate domination of the foods industry.
f) Local produce and animal products are healthier because they are not bursting with antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, and genetically modified materials.
With the movement growing in momentum, are there any options for local cat food for conscious pet owners? The healthiest option for cats is homemade raw or cooked food. If you have the time to buy local for your pets and prepare at home, here is a great website to introduce you to the concept: CatInfo.org. For owners who feel they need to continue to buy wet and dry food for their cats, it is always a good idea to look at labels and to buy the closest possible food to a homemade diet. Adding in the locavore concept, buying Canadian is best whenever possible, ideally from Ontario. Here are some Canadian companies I have found are the closest current version to the locavore diet, for Ontarian cats:
1. Orijen – Alberta
2. Acana – Alberta
3. Horizon – Saskatchewan
4. Petz 4 Life (raw food) – Ontario!
5. Carnivora (raw food) – Saskatchewan