It’s a production system that pushes resource-intensive growth of annual veggies/fruits to urban environs where those resources can be applied more efficiently, while shortening the supply lines to get highly perishable produce to eaters faster, at peak nutrition, with a negligible carbon footprint.
Vegetarian diets are not going to save the planet.
Chris Newman

It’s perhaps worth noting that here in Quebec there is a synergy between a) preference for traditional local foods and farmers’ markets, and b) openness to new foods and methods.

Given our climate, most produce for most of the year is imported, derived from unsustainable monocropping and transported over thousands of miles. Our grocery stores are filled with the products of industrial “agrifood” – neither healthy nor environmentally sustainable. Our “supply management” systems that ensure the survival of local producers of eggs, dairy, and maple syrup are under constant attack from “free market” lobbies – especially US “agrifood” corporations hoping to kill and replace local production and “trade deal” proponents.

Still, smaller local farms, co-operatives, and “artisanal” producers of organic and specialty foods can do well here. “Community assisted agriculture” (CSA), whereby one pays an annual fee in advance for a share of the harvest delivered periodically in season, meaning the farmer is less dependent on banks and can count on a base income, is finding adherents.

Urban agriculture is a growing trend here in Montreal. Once exclusive to a non-profit providing meals to shut-ins, it is now a profitable operation for a company that has just greatly expanded its indoor growing capacity and range. Its model uses a digital “marketplace” to connect customers with local, often organic, foods delivered weekly to a neighbourhood pickup point (or, for a small charge, to the home by an electric vehicle). Customers can choose from a wide array of vegetables, fruits, meats, etc. from vetted sources; the quality is generally excellent and prices only slightly, if anything, higher than for relatively flavourless imported produce.

While supporting more sustainable (“less bad”) food production is no panacea for combatting climate change, it is something the individual can choose to do – a step in the right direction, at least, that does not depend on the willingness of big business and politicians to change their ways. That it also makes for healthier, tastier meals is a bonus even for people who are less inclined to worry about the planet’s future.

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