Newsletter – August 2008

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August 2008 Newsletter for Seniors on Vancouver Island

Recently the media has been reporting extensively on the effects that gas and ferry price increases are having on Island businesses and residents, and rightly so. None of us will escape this untouched. Almost everything that we purchase here on the Island has to be shipped from the mainland; many have already traveled from sources around the world and therefore will be affected by the huge increase in shipping costs. What can we as individuals do? because no matter how frugal we try to be with cutting back on optional purchases, we do have to eat.

The reality is that decisions made over the past 50 years regarding Canadian agriculture policies are now being exposed as seriously flawed. Multi-national agribusiness companies and government policies have rendered the production of our basic foods to become the equivalent of a three legged chair. It can only stand upright, and be useful, with continuous support. Those decisions have also destroyed the family farm as an integral part both our heritage and of our ability to feed ourselves, in good times and in bad.

What can we do? We can all start buying locally produced foods, either directly from the farmers that valiantly try to compete with offshore grown commodities, or from the many Farmers Markets, here on the Island. Make the effort. Visit the farms and the markets. Purchase as much food as you can that has been grown in your own community and definitely here on the Island. You may think that this will cost you more money when money is already tight. But think again. We are all going to pay an exorbitant price if we don’t support our local farmers and greatly increase our ability to grow our basic food requirements right here on the Island. Try it, you will be surprised at the immediate, and long term, benefits. No tomato has ever tasted sweeter than when it is still warm from the morning sun. No vegetable has ever tasted better than one that was harvested just hours before you eat it, instead of weeks as is now often the case. Locally raised meats, poultry and dairy products are in a league of their own when compared to their offshore equivalents.

Give it a try. The only way that we can effectively bring about real change as to how our food is grown, and the policies that govern its production, is to support our Farmers by buying and eating locally grown products. Don’t just talk about, or think about it, do it. Also remember your neighbours or friends, who may not be as mobile as you, ask if you can shop for them, or better yet, take them with you. Let’s get back to basics.