Food for thought
City Hall is looking at a food policy and has asked for suggestions from experts to find ways to encourage a healthy, long-term, local food supply.
Last summer, council asked several local experts to take a look at our city, geography, and agriculture and suggest ways to make them all work together so that we can have a bigger, local food supply.
The experts say there are several reasons for wanting a local food policy. One is the environment as many people are concerned about the carbon footprint left behind by trucking food in. They believe this can be reduced by growing food right here in Alberta.
Another concern is food security like the e-coli contamination in vegetables from a factory a few years ago.
The city wants to encourage local growers and says it doesn't think community gardens and local farming will ever put the big grocery chains out of business.
Locally produced food isn't necessarily cheaper and organics and free-range products definitely are not.
This is because they have higher production costs but some food experts say that shouldn't matter.
"What's the cost of eating that cheap food anyway, because we do pay for it in some ways, in health care or environment, and you have to make a trade off," said Chef Andrew Hewson.
On Wednesday, the city will get its first look at the group's ideas. Among the suggestions are putting farmer's markets on transit lines so everybody can get to them, making sure grocers exist in all new communities, and setting aside more land for community gardens.