Imagine a natural disaster running through landlocked Calgary, taking out all major routes into and out of the city. How long would Calgary last without imported food?
Thinking about visiting any major grocery store in Calgary and the selection of fresh fruit and vegetables available at during all seasons, makes me wonder if we would be able to survive as a city of over a million without the importation of food!
I was fortunate to be invited to sit in on the Calgary Sustainable Food Committee’s forum with several other members from my business unit in January. I consider this one of the best events I attended this year to date. It was a broad spectrum of attendees; from community gardeners to farmers to big box food stores to chefs to City employees to charitable food organizations. We all had a common goal to analyze the food cycle in Calgary, and discuss ways to create a closed loop!
We broke into groups and discussed the growing, transportation, procurement, sales, consumerism and disposal of food in the city. What is seasonal here? How can we promote seasonal food choices in our markets, grocery stores, and restaurants? How can we ensure that all Calgarians have access to affordable and safe food options?
The trend of eating locally is an interesting one in a place like Calgary as we have, in some ways a limited growing season, unless we venture into the realm of green houses, and indoor gardening.
Are we actually helping countries when we import their crops as they often grow monocrops and lose the nutrients, and decrease the diversity of what they plant. Or should we be supporting our local farmers and ranchers even though all their practices may not be sustainable even close to home.