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50% Local Food Club appetizing idea
Published August 13, 2014 – 8:45pm
Last Updated August 14, 2014 – 7:31am
There was a time, not so very long ago, when a Sunday drive for many Nova Scotia families meant stopping at a produce stand to buy a massive bag of beets or huge baskets of apples.
The purchase would be hauled back home, and the peeling, cooking and preserving would commence. After many hours of labour, enough jars of pickled beets and apple sauce to last until next year’s harvest would line the countertop.
“It was a lot of work, but it sure did taste a lot better than what you buy in a grocery store,” said Alicia Lake of Baddeck, one of the organizers of an initiative aimed at encouraging Nova Scotians to buy locally produced food.For many, setting up preserves is a thing of the past. Compared to a Saturday morning trip to the store, where quick-to-prepare meals have become a staple in the shopping cart, few have the time or the inclination to take on such adventures.
“You can even buy bags of chopped rutabagas — everything is packaged and ready to go,” said Lake.
But at what cost?
“We have just launched a campaign called the 50% Local Food Club to get people asking that very question,” she said.
It was organized by local food advocates, the Farmers’ Markets of Nova Scotia Cooperative and other organizations to convince Nova Scotians of the value in buying locally grown and produced products.
“When you buy from local producers, you keep the money in your own community and everyone benefits,” said Lake.
The 50% Local Food Club is very targeted, she said.
“We’re asking people, businesses and government to make a pledge for the month of September where 50 per cent of their diet would come from local producers and they will get access to all kinds of information about food, recipes, local initiatives and where to buy.
“Think about rural decline and where we’re spending our money.”
Lake undertook a similar program in Cape Breton last year.
“There were 200 people who took part last year, and it really was amazing the impact it had for local producers.”
“With 200 people devoting 50 per cent of their diet to local food, growers really saw a difference.”
Keltie Butler is executive director of the farmers’ markets organization in Halifax.
“A study in 2010 said for most people in Nova Scotia, just 13 per cent of their diet is produced locally,” said Butler.
“Imagine if 50 per cent of their diet was local.”
“With this initiative, we expect thousands across the province to take part and we’ll have regular updates about politicians who have taken up the cause because this is a way to come together to help support this important part of our economy.”
Individuals, families and organizations interested in joining can register at nslocalfoodclub.wordpress.com.