I went to the grocery store this week. The papers have been fill of articles like this CBC report but the price of everything floored me and that’s saying something since I keep a kosher kitchen.
Coffee was absolutely outrageous. One of the items on my list was garlic. California garlic was $2.99 for 3 small bulbs. Chinese garlic was $.99 for six. Then there is ‘Organic’ but grown in Mexico for $5.99 for 3 bulbs. Organically grown seems like a bit of misnomer since all vegetables grown in the ground or from trees and vines are ‘organic’. I guess this means without pesticides and/or non-chemically made fertilizer...of course, just what kind of fertilizer used could be rather problematic from a health perspective.....but hey, its’ organic.
I think to myself how is this possible that garlic which is grown half a world away and have to be freighted via ship and then road to Canadian supermarkets can be cheaper than garlic grown in California? There is no ocean to cross, and yet, it is decidedly cheaper. I looked for Canadian grown garlic, and there was none. Potatoes were the only Canadian vegetable I could find.
I went looking for canned tomatoes and could not find one can of Canadian grown tomatoes. I am not saying there aren’t any, just none in the grocery store I was in. Some of the cans will fool you. Packaged in Canada, but a product of China, this makes me wonder about the so-called ‘packaged’ in Canada really means. Is it just the bilingual label? How do we really know? And just how has it come to be that the shelves in our grocery stores are not teeming with food made, processed and packaged in Canada? But they are not.
There is nothing that cannot be grown in Canada. It could be expensive, at least initially, although $8 dollars for a head of cauliflower isn’t exactly ‘cheap’ but I digress. There is nothing we cannot grow. This country has space, access to water, and the technology to grow everything here. There is no reason why we could not have large scale greenhouse orange groves but we don’t. We became world leaders in growing hydroponic marijuana; so why can't we do this for oranges, lemons, grapes and limes?
It seems ridiculous and foolish, in a modern first world like nation like Canada, that our entire food supply is dependent almost entirely on foreign sources and often subject to huge price fluctuations owing to international currency volatility. Part of the blame is a lazy media with poor math skills and limited cognitive reasoning that is all too willing to blindly accept any explanation given by someone uttering it authoritatively...and don’t get me started on how voodoo economics shapes and influences commodity markets.
Just think about this, our dollar has dived (around 12%) against the US dollar but it has grown 10% stronger against the Mexican peso but produce from Mexico has risen dramatically in price – meanwhile the price of gasoline keeps plummeting...so why isn’t the higher purchasing power from the Canadian dollar and lowered transportation costs reflected in lower prices in produce from Mexico? Even the offset the weak Canadian dollar with the lowered price of gasoline and then there is no reason but the greed to explain $8 cauliflower.
But really, the less said about health consequences for foreign farming/processingstandards, the better. And, if you really must eat pre-package breakfast cereals and snacks, do you really need to eat Corn Flakes, Special K or Pop Tarts made and processed in Thailand?
We need to take back our food supply.
As for me, I am taking one of those California bulbs of garlic and planting it. For less than a $5 initial investment, I will have approximately a year’s supply of garlic growing in my home come July/August. At the end of the summer, when Ontario grown tomato harvest comes in, I will take off two days and start canning for the year.