The destruction of the food supply system in Canada.

This blog is dedicated to the ruination of the food supply chain in Canada. How did this happen and why? What are the consequences, and how to repair it.

The World Wars

It was after the World War I and II, that pesticides and chemicals started to be heavily used on produce. This was supposed to be able to yield higher returns on crops because it keeps those “harmful and pesky” bugs away.

This made traditional farming methods such as crop rotation and animal fertilization obsolete. It led to the mass farming practices that are practiced today amongst conventional farmers. This new way of farming allowed farmers to grow massive amounts of crops and ship them nationally (and globally).

People could now get their (cheaper) produce from a farmer that was hundreds or thousands of miles away and spraying who knows what on it. The era of the family farm is gone, replaced by huge farming operations that seemingly have no regard for plant or animal.

The world wars and feminism. During both major world wars many women had to enter the workforce due to the fall out labour shortage. Although many positive things were realized by this for woman, there were also negative consequences. This brought on my parents generation in the late 60’s. Without the opportunity to stay in there ancestoral region, to find meaningful employment… they had to move forward. Dawn the growth of major urban areas like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The Caveat then and more so today. The cost of living. Introducing the two income family and later “DINC’s”, double income, no children.

Advertising

This is a result of the two reasons mentioned above. Advertisers and marketers are smart people. They know how to illicit responses.

In the case of the chemically sprayed produce, it is positioned as being able to feed more people and a cheaper method. It is also given the name “conventional.” The method that was around for years was given the new label of “organic.”

Why not call it what it is? Chemically sprayed. Why was the method that’s been around since the beginning given this new label? Organic is the way that produce has been farmed for thousands of years

The consequences of all the above? They are so numerous, I could write a thesis and still not cover everything. Let’s just look at a few examples. Mass production farming resulted in the need to find a more efficient way to get food to people. Introducing grocery stores. Initially not a bad idea, and many at this time still provided local products. This changed very rapidly with global markets competing to get there stuff on the shelf. Soon we were sold on the idea of things “not in season, or local”, being available year round. A novelty at first, but we soon forgot about quality, in favour of convenience and quantity. The next major event, much more incidious, the destruction of the retail market in Canada. Over the last 20 years most of Canada’s retail sector has disappeared. I would like to thank our government for this one as well. Big box stores at the retail and wholesale level like Walmart and Sysco came in with a vengeance, offering cheap food and merchandise. Gone are most of the iconic Canadian stores, due to this. In addition, this has perhaps to a lesser degree in the foodservice industry. Don’t worry, they’re working on this as we read. Mom and Pop operations are disappearing off the map, and with vivid, this has been accelerated. Who has benefited from vivid? Huge multinational corporations like McDonald’s, and the rise of QSR, quick service restaurants. The implications of this can be seen triple fold in health related issues like obesity, diebetes, cancer and heart disease….

Solutions. I’d like to wrap this up with a look at a few simple solutions. Like the song says, “we’ve got to get us back to the garden”.

  • Buy local, farmers market, roadside stands
  • Ask your grocery store to offer more local, Canadian foods
  • Support local, family owned restaurants
  • Grow some of your own food
  • Advocate for something, support local causes
  • Become a human doing, rather than a human being
 What we are doing to the forests of the world is but a mirror reflection of what we are doing to ourselves and to one another. – Mahatma Gandhi