Buying Local Foods in London, Ontario, Canada
Why Buy Local Foods?
There are many reasons to buy local foods: it supports the economy, food is often fresher and tastes better compared to imported produce that has been shipped long distances, and it is better for the environ-ment. Imported produce that has to be shipped a long way is often picked prematurely and left to ripen during shipping. This long distance shipping promotes environmental damage through production of greenhouse emissions and the use of fossil fuels. Local fruits and vegetables that have been fully vine-ripened are more nutritious and delicious! They also travel a much shorter distance, reducing pollution associated with transportation. In addition, buying local connects consumers (that’s you!) with the local farmers that produce a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other foods. Keeping our local farmers in business helps to create jobs and ensures that farms will stay in the community for future generations.
Where Can You Buy Local Foods in London, Ontario, Canada?
In the Middlesex and London region, local foods can be accessed a number of ways, including: Farmers’ Markets, Community Supported Agriculture, delivery programs such as Eat Green Organics and On The Move Organics, and the grocery store!
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSA is a farming system in which the consumer pays a set fee to the farmer before the growing season, which helps cover the costs of the farm operation. In return, the person gets ‘shares’ in the form of produce from the farm! Together, the consumer and farmer share the rewards and risks, such as poor weather and other factors associated with farming.
What do they offer?
CSA farms typically offer fresh vegetables and fruit, but some farmers also offer eggs, poultry, meat, herbs, and honey.
How does it work?
Before the growing season starts, the consumers pay the farmer the set fee and then, starting sometime in May, produce and other food products produced on the farm will become available! The farmer will deliver the produce to a pre-determined pick-up location within your community at a set time and all you have to do is pick it up! Every CSA farm is different and varies in the types of crops grown, the size of the shares available, the arrangements of getting the shares, the length of the growing season, the cost of the shares and whether or not they offer organic products. Contact the farms in your area directly to find out how they operate.
Eat Green Organics
Eat Green Organics is a small, independent business in London, Ontario that provides home delivery of organic produce from a variety of local suppliers on a convenient, weekly schedule. Produce boxes are offered which have a great selection of weekly featured fruits and vegetables at a great value; however, customers can make substitutions to other options on their menu. Eat Green Organics offers dairy, meat, and other grocery items in addition to produce. For more information check them out online at www.expressorganics.com.
On The Move Organics
On The Move Organics (OTMO) provides fresh food from a variety of local suppliers to consumers by a number of ways. OTMO offers a home delivery system, a permanent retail location comprised of a grocery store with an organic juice bar, and it has recentlydeveloped a CSA system. OTMO offers a variety of food products focusing on local and fair trade, including fruits and vegetables, eggs, dairy, grains, pasta, coffee and tea.
Weekly standard or custom local food boxes that have been pre-ordered are delivered either by bicycle within an 18 square kilometer delivery area, or by bus to the rest of London. In season, the standard boxes are filled with 100% local food; however, in colder months, imported food is supplemented. For more information visit OTMO’s retail location Saturdays from 8am-3pm on the second floor of The Western Fair Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market or check them out online at www.onthemoveorganics.ca.
Farmers’ markets are public markets usually held outside where farmers gather and sell their local, farm-fresh products to consumers. There are several farmers markets throughout London. Be aware that not every product sold at a farmers market is necessarily locally grown. Ask the farmer or retailer where the food came from if you are in doubt. For more information on Ontario Farmer’s Markets check out www.farmersmarketsontario.com.
At the Grocery Store
In your grocery store, look for foods marked with the ‘Foodland Ontario’ symbol. These are foods that have been grown in Ontario. Foodland Ontario is a consumer promotion program of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. For more information about the program visit www.foodland.gov.on.ca.
For a printable PDF of this article, click here: Buying Local Foods