Food for thought

Megan Walchuk

With summer here, social media posts showing perfectly risen bread have given way blossoming gardens, busy bees and fresh produce. Whether it’s COVID-inspired worries, or an over abundance of time at home, our food supply is in sharp focus.

But the search for homegrown food has spread beyond our backyards. Our region’s farmers are enjoying a surge in demand as residents seek out a safe, reliable source of meat, eggs and produce.

We’re lucky to live so close to our food supply- it certainly makes the search easy. Ironically, COVID has made it even easier still. With so much of our everyday lives moving online, food markets have followed. This year, the region’s 4-H Beef clubs have gone digital, allowing the members to market their cattle directly to the public. Although the kids won’t get to show in an auction this year, due to the cancellation of the Emo Fair, the new platform makes it especially easy for families or groups of families to buy a local 4-H steer. Get some friends together, clear some freezer space and check out The Rainy River District even has the luxury of its own abattoir, making the entire process a local endeavour, from farm to fork.

A Facebook group for local farm products emerged near the start of COVID-19. Rainy River District Buy Fresh Buy Local direct markets locally produced food and products to consumers.

You don’t have to go online to find local food. A Farmer’s Market runs each Thursday in the Rainy Lake Square in Fort Frances. The Gerber produce stand at Canadian Tire is a summer mainstay.
Even mainstream grocery stores, like Cloverleaf, The Place and Safeway, know the importance of local food. Gerber potatoes, carrots and eggs are easy to find, and other local produce appears in shelves as it come into season.

There is no substitute for locally sourced food; it’s better for both the region and the planet. We know it didn’t spend weeks in a truck, wasting fuel and resources. And most importantly, we can trust the integrity of the land and the people which produced it.