During the warmer months in Canada, many of us travel to nearby farms to buy local produce or join a farm tour. With fewer Canadians living on farms, such visits connect urban and rural communities and showcase modern farming.
The release of Canada’s new Food Guide in January was, predictably, followed by hot debate. The Food Guide has a long history of being contentious. The 2007 version was heavily criticized as being influenced by lobbyists from the agriculture industry.
IN JANUARY LAST YEAR, an Ontario farmer was convicted of four counts of animal cruelty, after the deaths of more than 1,500 pigs near the small town of Tavistock, Ont. Police officers arrived on the farm to find 1,265 pigs already dead, and another 250 pigs in such distress that they had to be euthanized.
Roughly one third of the food produced for global human consumption is wasted every year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. That translates into approximately 1.3 billion tonnes, costing US$ 680 billion in losses. The numbers are overwhelming.
As Christians, we need to carefully discern our motivations for the diets we adopt. Are we using food to demonstrate moral superiority, to exclude others from the table, or to shut down dialogue with people who don’t share our values? We need to make sure we’re not using food to alienate others.
Canadians concerned with keeping Canadian food on Canadian grocery shelves may want to keep a close eye on agricultural bargaining chips, both during NAFTA and in the future.