Food can often travel thousands of kilometres before finding its way to your table. Here are a few tips to reduce “food mileage”:
Grow it yourself
There are two ways:
- Make a garden at home or plant fruit trees or bushes in your yard.
- If you don’t have land to cultivate, community gardens in your city may be an option to garden at very little expense and enable you to benefit from gardening tips from other members.
Obviously, it’s hard to grow bananas in Rimouski or avocados in Saskatoon. Focus on fruits and vegetables that are better adapted to our climate:
- Apples and mixed berries
- Cucumbers, zucchini, etc.
Additionally, gardening is good for your physical and mental health. Three and a half hours of gardening burns 100 calories – the equivalent of two hours of jogging1.
Gardening is also good for your brain: according to scientists, mycobacterium vaccae, a nonpathogenic species of bacteria that lives naturally in soil, acts as an antidepressant. In fact, it stimulates the production of serotonin and noradrenalin in the brain, thus helping the body better manage chemical balance in the brain and combat depression2.
Obviously, gardening takes time and partially meets our needs.
Here are a few tips for buying local, ideally in bulk and without using plastic bags.
- Local seasonable food is often cheaper than food that travels long distances. Choose seasonal products and where possible, freeze fruits and vegetables for winter and spring. Preserves are also a good option for consumption in colder weather.
- If you have a bigger budget, local agriculture is an option for food, generally organic, produced on a small scale, in the form of local food baskets.
Some employers and organizations near you may also choose urban agriculture.
For example, at iA Financial Group, we rent out the rooftops of two of our buildings to our partner, Du Toit à la Table, which grows vegetables. The baskets they produce are prepared on-site and sold to the employees in the buildings where they are produced. These vegetables travel zero kilometres to find themselves in the hands of consumers. It’s just a few floors from the roof to the ground floor. There’s nothing like the taste of fresh vegetables!
Grown by passionate producers in your area, these baskets can help you discover local foods that you are less likely to find at the grocery store.
Take advantage of the taste of summer and check out our next video!