Eating food locally grown and raised by small farms practicing sustainable farming is a value that I did not expect to embrace with such dedication. I do not like to be lectured when I shop for groceries so the moral high ground approach is not the reason I care so much. I appreciate the earnestness and passion of our farmers. I certainly applaud them for going against the trend of industrial farming despite the hard labour and low profit. As a consumer, what truly convinced me is that dollar for dollar, I get much higher quality, better variety, and healthier option. Once I’ve seen the value in this choice, there’s no going back to my old ways.
Even in the familiarity of home, it takes planning and effort to get my weekly supply of farm fresh produce from my CSA Kawartha Ecological Growers and my favourite farmers’ markets. The challenge to eat locally is magnified when I’m away from home. As soon as I arrived in South Florida, my first order of business was to seek out locations of Whole Foods Market and farmers’ markets. Being one of the main growing region of United States, one would expect abundant availability of high quality produce in Florida. Strangely enough, that does not appear to be the case from many people I talked to. Since I arrived in Fort Lauderdale a week ago, I shopped at various grocery stores catering to different consumer markets. I visited Wal-Mart Supercenter, Publix, Whole Foods Market, and Marando Farms. Now I understand my friends’ lament on the lack of quality produce.