Last summer, the Ecology Action Centre and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture released a report entitled “Is Nova Scotia Eating Local”?
The grim facts: In 2008, only 13% of the food dollar returned to Nova Scotia farmers. This has decreased from 17% in 1997.
The main theme that emerged from Is Nova Scotia Eating Local? is about making prices more ‘real’. For instance, the price of food should reflect the real cost of producing it. The supply managed dairy and poultry sectors, although not perfect, have helped to put dairy and poultry products on store shelves at a price that reflects the cost of production. They have also managed, to a certain extent, to match supply with demand. That should at least be a goal with the other agricultural sectors. In the case of products that can be grown here, assess supply, assess demand, and see what can be done to match the two.
The real cost of producing food should include fair wages for farmers and their workers as well as the ability to steward the land. People and the land should not be ‘used up’ in the process of growing food.
Over the past few months, we’ve been going through the report, two chapters at a time, at our monthly Food Action Committee meeting. As we discussed the chapters this month, it occurred to me that we could be having a parallel discussion online.
You can download the full report and executive summary here. At our January meeting, we covered the “Self Reliance” and “Distance and Emissions of a Food Basket” chapters. In the next few days, I’ll post a short summery of the chapter and open it up for discussion.
Yours in Food,