The other day, as I was shopping in one of our local grocery stores, I was taken aback by how much of our produce comes from foreign destinations. It would be fine if we only imported fruit and vegetables that cannot be grown in Canada; things like bananas and coconuts, but I was shocked to see apples which were imported from France.
The Kootenay and Okanagan areas used to be major exporting regions for fruit and vegetables. In fact, the Kootenays used to produce 70 per cent of its food. Now, we don’t even produce five per cent. Around Nelson,the fruit trees have either been cut down or allowed to go to seed. In the Okanagan, vast tracks of land have been transformed from food agriculture to wine production.
As a community, we have abandoned our self sufficiency and become dependent on big multi-national food business that supplies us with inferior quality foods at ever increasing prices.
We must reverse this dangerous trend and reclaim self-determination, or else we will become more and more food insecure as our economy falters and climate change decreases our choices of regions from which we can import.
First of all, we must boycott products that are imported and choose locally produced goods even if doing so causes short term inconvenience. Secondly, we can support local markets and donate money to the Kootenay Growers’ Cooperative, which is trying to coordinate and expand the local market. We can also encourage our municipal council to provide more incentives for public garden areas and greenhouses. Furthermore, consider becoming a member of the West Kootenay EcoSociety, which is also initiating growing projects.
In order to avoid future hardship, we should all be diligent enough to support these precautionary measures. We will all benefit economically and healthwise.
Wayne Savard, Nelson