What Can I Do?

Eating 100% local is not very practical for most folks, but there are ways to be more conscious about where your food comes from and more thoughtful about your food choices.

Take the Personal Action Pledge And just because it’s local, doesn’t mean it is sustainable, just, accessible or culturally appropriate.

Here are a few steps you can take to help create a strong, sustainable, accessible and culturally appropriate local food ecosystem in your community whether it is rural or urban.

Take the Personal Action Pledge
  1. Check the labels on the food you buy to see where it comes from. Look for alternatives from your own region.

  2. Support and get to know the sustainable local farmers in your area
      • Small family farms produce more food per acre than large industrial corporate farms
    Support local Farmers’ Markets during harvest season
    • Google “how to find local food in [my region]”
    • Consider signing up for a weekly farmers box a.k.a. a CSA box or a food delivery system that sources local
    • Local eggs is often one of the easiest local foods to source year round
    • For local meat – talk to an independent butcher shop in your area

  3. Lobby your favourite grocery store to stock more local food and to flag it with high visibility “LOCAL” labels (as they do with organic food)

  4. Search out and support restaurants that source local food. Google “farm to table” restaurants and “farm to table” chefs in your area

  5. Consider eating seasonally and savour food that is always at its best!
    • Fresh local greens may only be available in the summer but local root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, turnip, cabbage should be available year round if your local farmers have a way to store them through the winter.  “In the summer we eat above the ground. In the winter we eat below the ground”.
        • Winter Salad: Fresh shredded cabbage, carrots and kohlrabi make a great winter salad. Don’t just think coleslaw – use your favourite dressing.  Combine with some cooked chicken or hard boiled egg or grated local cheese.
        • Winter Stir Fry: Fresh: cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, and frozen: kale, spinach, peppers, zucchini
    • Lots of local produce freezes well such as spinach, kale, pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini
        • If you don’t have room in your own freezer, check your grocery store’s frozen food section for frozen produce grown in your province/state/region. It’s more nutritious to eat frozen local veggies than fresh veggies that have travelled half way around the world.
        • If you do have room in your freezer you can freeze fresh kale (stemmed), peppers (chopped or sliced or cored), zucchini (sliced or spiralized into zucchini noodles) without any blanching. And with a straw and a ziplock you can make your own vacuum sealed freezer bags.
        • Check the internet for seasonal food charts from your region
  6. Grow some of your own food.  Urban or rural, big or small, almost anyone can grow some food
      • Many herbs grow well on windowsills and balconies
      • Check out how to make a lettuce tower for your balcony using a potting soil bag or a burlap bag
      • Instead of planting ornamental shrubs outside your office building, consider planting berry bushes or snap peas so passersby can graze
      • Look for community gardens or create one
      • Many of the world’s largest urban centres find ways to produce a significant portion of their food via backyard gardens, roof top gardens, vacant lot gardens. Google this and be inspired!
          • Shanghai: produces 60% of its vegetables and 90% of its egg and milk consumption in the city itself
          • USA: During WWII Victory Gardens (backyard and rooftop) produced 44% of vegetables consumed in the USA

  7. Take a canning/preserving course. Or check out this great reference book “Putting Food By”

  8. Minimize food waste
    •  Save veggie scraps and bones in the freezer for future soup stock
    • Don’t buy more than you need. Cycle older products to the front of the fridge
    • Compost:
      • Turn any food waste into rich soil for growing via municipal composts, backyard composts, worm composting
      • donate your Hallowe’en pumpkins to local chicken or pig farmers 
    • Buying directly from producers will often diminish waste from overpackaged foods found at the grocery store
    • Check out:  LOOP

  9. Take a foraging workshop or go for a foraging walk with someone who knows wild plants. You might be surprised that some of those ‘weeds’ growing in your garden or your yard are actually edible.  (Such as chickweed, fireweed, dandelion, lambsquarter). But be careful – don’t forage where pesticides might be in use and forage sustainably
  10. Procurement: If you belong to an organization, a company, a government institution, a society – start a discussion about sourcing sustainably produced  and culturally appropriate local food for conferences, meetings, school lunch programs, hospitals, cafeterias.

  11. Spread the word
      • Host a local food dinner party or a local food potluck. For some great recipe ideas check out the Boreal Gourmet
      • Share the film “First We Eat” by hosting a community screening. Use the film as a jumping off point for a discussion about food issues in your community. Encourage people to print off and make a Personal Action Pledge to do more to eat locally. Display and share this QRcode that links to the First We Eat Personal Action Pledge.

  12. Just because it’s local, doesn’t mean it is sustainable, just, accessible or culturally appropriate.  Join or support organizations in your community that support local sustainable food production,  support indigenous food sovereignty, work for greater food justice, reduce food waste or help make local food more accessible or national organizations such as Food Secure Canada and Food Day Canada

  13. Donate to international  organizations such as the United Nations World Food Program who also promote sustainable local food production in the most vulnerable countries. Winner of a Nobel Peace Prize in 2020 for their work.

Thanks for asking! 
Yukon producer and director Suzanne Crocker at the Dawson City Farmers' market the First We Eat documentary about eating only locally-grown foods in Dawson City, Yukon, in Canada's North, for one year.