Local food intake declines: Study

Those blueberries on your ice cream are more likely to come from theUnited States or Chile than the Annapolis Valley, according to a reportreleased yesterday.

Those blueberries on your ice cream are more likely to come from the United States or Chile than the Annapolis Valley, according to a report released yesterday.

The Ecology Action Centre and the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture released a study last night showing in 2008, Nova Scotians were eating less local food than a decade prior.

Marla MacLeod, co-author of the report, said on average food is travelling about 4,000 kilometres to the dinner tables in Nova Scotia.

“When we looked at the percentage of the food dollars that goes back to Nova Scotia’s farmers, it was 13 per cent in 2008, which is down from 17 per cent in 1997,” she said.

But this isn’t what apple producers are experiencing.

“In the last three or four years, we’ve had such an increase in interest to buy local that I hope it’s going up,” said Dela Erith, executive director of the Nova Scotia Fruit Growers Association.

She said she’d like to know what’s happened since 2008 to see if the numbers would be different.

“We know our apple packers have noticed an increase in local interest since that (provincial buy-local) program was put in place.”

Issues
• The problem is farmers aren’t getting a good price for their food here, and we’re bringing in a lot of food from other places, Marla MacLeod said. She added customers need to start asking for local food and retailers need to identify local items.

• “Now we have some baseline data, it’s something we can monitor on a regular basis and we can set targets,” MacLeod said.