THE REASONS I LOVE TO SHOP LOCAL
Why shopping local is awesome, more affordable, and better for everyone.
- February 1st 2017
- Samantha Lloyd
Shopping for food can cost you a pretty penny nowadays, with the average Canadian spending approximately $241.00 per person, per month. I can attest from living in a big city, that even shopping smart, and avoiding frozen or processed foods, groceries easily set us back $200.00 per person - and that doesn't include eating out. Further, when shopping at a grocery store, you don't get to know who is behind the food you're purchasing or how far your food traveled. Between the money spent, and not knowing where our food was coming from, we wanted to find a solution. Fear not, there are options!
Places to Go - Farmer's Markets
Not sure where to find farm-fresh cuisine? It depends where you live, but even in the heart of downtown Toronto, you are filled with options. The easiest for most suburban and city dwellers is to check out your local farmer's markets. Farmers come from all over the area to set up a booth of their freshest produce, meats, and cheeses. Many also sell homemade honey, sauces, soaps, and more. Some farmer's markets are only open on weekends or in the summers but others, like the St. Lawrence Market, are open year round.
Shopping local is beneficial for the economy, the environment, and your overall health.
Places to Go - Butcher Shops
Butcher shops are another great way to get year-round access to local meat and dairy products. The local butcher can tell you the farms that they receive products from, and you can research to ensure they are a farm you trust to properly care for their livestock. Many farmers treat their livestock with the utmost respect. If you choose to eat dairy or meat, this is a great way to support farmers that deserve to have business, and boycott factory farming, without having to make a drive out to farm country!
Places to Go - Restaurants
Did you know that some restaurant farm their own foods? Or only purchase from local farms? This may surprise you, but it's true. You will need to do a little research on your own to find out if your favourite establishment also supports local businesses. As an example, Fairmont Royal York has its own "Bee Hotel" atop their roof, which provides a resting stop for solitary bees to support further pollination and growth of the species, without interfering with a hive. The chefs at Fairmont then collect the honey from these hives - sustainable and delicious!
Places to Go - Farms
Admittedly, this can prove to be a bit of a mission. But, hey, next time you're heading up to cottage country, instead of getting corn, strawberries, apples, and your other food favourites from the grocery store, why not hit up a farm along the way? The pricing is incredible, and the food is always delicious, fresh, and perfectly ripe.
Now that you know where to get it... what's the benefit? Aside from the fact that I've always saved money when shopping at the farmer's market, there are many positive societal impacts for shopping local.
The money that is spent with local farmers stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community. This allows them to continue operating and being the trusted cruelty-free, caring farm that they are. Without them, grocers and restaurants will need to rely on far away farms or worse, factory farms, to buy their products.
The food is seasonal, and therefore will always be picked ripe. No more buying food that is picked before ripened so that it can ripen on its way to you in a freezer truck. Generally, food has the most nutrients when ripe and fresh, too. It doesn't just taste better, it's better for you.
You reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing food grown locally, since it has to travel less to get to you. Also, you help maintain farmland and green space in your community. Farmers can only afford to maintain their farms if they have people willing to buy from them.
Knowing about your Food
And, finally, you know where your food comes from. You can visit the farms, speak with the merchants who run the farms, and know how many steps there are between you and your food. The benefit of farm to table cannot be understated.
Shopping this way, of course, is much easier to do in the summer than the winter, especially in Canada when so much of our produce is out of season. In the summer, we are able to bus or walk to the markets that are much further than the grocery store, and spend time enjoying the process. We not only save money, we meet the dedicated individuals behind the food. We get to know how they run their businesses, how they treat their livestock, and how reputable they are. Supporting local farmers and businesses is important to us, and it's reflected in your Rescue Crate. We will be visiting local markets this summer to find even more exciting, cruelty-free, and sustainable products for the subscription boxes, and we can't wait!