You may be vegan, vegetarian or even a self-proclaimed “omnivore” but have you ever thought about being a locavore? The locavore movement is all about making an effort to buy local, organic food that supports local farmers and businesses. There are a few easy lifestyle changes you can make if you’d like to start supporting local food and supporting the movement!
Support Farmers’ Markets
Instead of buying from a regular grocery store, hit up your local farmers’ market. London, Ontario is home to several markets, including the Western Fair Market, located at 900 King Street. Toronto is home to the popular St. Lawrence Market which hosts local venders who work on family farms that produce organic, fresh food.
If you purchase food at a farmers’ market, not only will you be helping out your local economy; you’ll also be supporting everyday farmers who have a hard time competing in the modern agricultural industry that values factory farming over locally grown food.
Support Local Artisans
You don’t need to buy packaged goods from box stores either. Pantry staples like breads, spices, and tea can also be found at your local market or in select local stores. When produced locally, these products are usually handmade and are considerably more delicious than regular store-bought goods.
As well, the makers of local, handcrafted products generally take the time to pay attention to the process in which their goods are made. This means that animals and people are less likely to be exploited and mistreated by local artisans.
What If I Can’t Live Without Coffee?
Unsure of where to get your morning cup of joe? Although Canada’s climate can’t produce coffee beans, purchasing a locally produced cup of coffee from an independent coffee shop is much better for the environment than purchasing your coffee in K-cup format from the grocery store.
The Fire Roasted Coffee Co. brews delicious fair trade coffee and The Tea Haus sells a variety of organic teas. In Toronto, Balzac’s Coffee Roasters is a popular independent coffee shop that uses only organic and locally sourced dairy products, and has a deep commitment to local sustainability.
If a trusted local vendor is hard to find, try opting for the “terroir” approach to food. This approach involves purchasing foods that are well known in their region, and supporting that community’s agriculture. For instance, if you live in Toronto and you’re looking for “local” olive oil- check out Acropolis Organics, a vendor at the St. Lawrence Market that sells olive oil made from olives harvested in Crete.
Buying Local Can Be Easy
Becoming an avid locavore doesn’t have to be stressful and time consuming. There are a variety of ways in which eating local can be made easy.
Freeze Pre-Made Meals: Freeze your favourite prepped meals so that they’re ready in your freezer for when you’re in a pinch.
Buy Seasonal: Purchase food when it’s in season and freeze summer fruits for fall or winter consumption.
Use a Delivery Service: Eat Green Organics is a London, Ontario service that delivers locally farmed food right to your doorstep. Fresh City Farms delivers fresh, local produce to homes in Toronto and surrounding areas.
Create a Community of locavores: Encourage friends and colleagues to also buy local and arrange carpool trips to your local market. You can even make cooking fun by hosting a group meal prep session.
#LondonGetsLocal: A Movement to Sustainability
London native Natasha Hockley started the #LondonGetsLocal movement when she noticed a significant lack of locally-grown, organic food at her local grocery store. In early 2014, Hockley created a #LondonGetsLocal Facebook group as an “interactive directory” for other like-minded champions of local sustainable, organic farms, small businesses and grassroots initiatives.
A mere 10 months later, Hockley’s network has more than tripled in participation and demand, and Hockley continues to spread the locavore message. The #LondonGetsLocal movement is encouraging Londoners to buy local in order to support our farms, contribute directly to our local economy and improve human health and vitality to boot!