Wide eyed and a pocketful of change

I have been stubbornly refusing to sign up to cable or satellite TV but when my hubby broached using Netflix on our new laptop, I knew he had me beat!  There is a free month to try things out (kinda like we do at the Pantry) and I have been catching up on a number of documentaries.  These have all seemed to revolve around food, the state of the nation and the credit/banking industry.  Watching them has reinforced in my mind, why I do what I do, and why the PeaceFull Pantry and supporting local farmers is so important.  My hubby who has blindly supported me in my endeavours, watched a few of the movies with me, and had his eyes opened WIDE!  Watch Food Inc or FRESH to open your own eyes.  Some of the dialogue talks about the centralized meat packing plants and how much like a factory they have become – both to the product and the workers – efficient yes, wholesome and a desired place to work, no.  It made me so glad that we have two nearby local abattoirs and butcher shops.  I was feeling all glad and glowy until I learnt that Heart Valley Processors south of Wanham, and where Soames’s beef is processed, is up for sale, as Stan and Reita who own the plant are wanting to retire – they also have a small butcher outlet shop in Sexsmith.  Depending who buys the plant, or doesn’t, this chips away out our local options and resiliency.  And if Johnny’s Sausage in Grimshaw is not being supported, our local butchering options evaporate and all our local meat farmers will have to send their animals way south to be processed – adding cost to your pocket, less in the farmers pocket, and stress on the animals. One of the other points I read recently, was that folk often say that buying local or organic is more expensive and they can’t afford it – especially in tight economic times.  There are lots of arguments to that, but what struck me was that the act of a little is very powerful when it is coupled with the many.  The article I read was saying that if folks spent even $10 a week or a month on locally sourced product, that it translates into many thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the local economy.  Yes, $10 is  token, but it is also a supporting vote that encourages and helps local farmers decide to continue doing what they do – if they don’t hear it from their “market” frankly they won’t offer the service any more, and without options, there is no resiliency in the system if the system has a break.  So, if you don’t know where to start, or can’t commit all your food budget to local or organic, could I suggest you look at one or two items that you could buy locally – despite the price being more than you pay at the grocery shop.  Maybe each month it is a bag of carrots from Lisa, or a few pounds of ground burger from Soames, or getting your eggs from Chris, or going to Grimshaw and buying your steaks from Johnny’s sausage, or even buying one package of organic produce from the grocery store. Coupled together it adds up.  Last year through the Peacefull Pantry, we put over $20,000 back into the pockets of our local farmers.  On some scales, that is a drip, but if you think that before the Pantry, that number was zero, or very minimal, that is AWESOME.
So, thank you for being part of the Pantry and voting with your food dollars – however much that is.  You are an important part of the fabric of the local farming community because of this, and are helping to keep our local economy alive.  If you want to do more – like buy a meat processing plant, or form a slow money fund, or some other way to bolster our local options and farmers, lets start that discussion and keep all our options available both now and in the future.

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