We need to rely more on local agriculture for environmental sustainability, food security, and economic resilience. Here's why:
Importing produce requires freight transportation, which heavily relies on fossil fuels. While some might argue that we should focus on transitioning from fossil fuel-based energy to renewables, the world is so dependent on fossil fuels that transitioning is a large feat which will take a long time to implement and achieve. A more direct course of action is to reduce your personal dependence on transported goods, which is most feasible for agriculture, provided that you understand your options for local agriculture.
From face masks to consumer goods, many supply shortages have occurred due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. While produce might not immediately come to mind, it is certainly something that can be affected - for example, farmers required to abide by physical distancing rules might not be able to harvest as much produce, causing noticeable shortages down the line. Circling back to imported produce, political events like conflicts and sanctions can also cause supply disruptions. In any case, there are a few countermeasures to ensure food security with regards to produce.
Foraging, gleaning, and CSA
Pairing crowdsourced mapping websites like Falling Fruit with some research, you will find there are many types of edible fruits, nuts, plants, and mushrooms that can be safely harvested. When partaking in urban foraging, it is recommended to always use caution and to ensure you are not violating any bylaws. Joining or volunteering with organizations like Hidden Harvest, you can partake in what is known as gleaning - harvesting excess produce in your city so that it does not go to waste. Finally, by purchasing a share in community-supported agriculture (CSA), you will have a delivery of fresh, local produce weekly or bi-weekly.
Spending your money on local agriculture, whether that be via CSA or farmer's markets, injects more money into the local economy. If people begin relying more on local agriculture, the increase in demand will result in more local jobs. Over time, this will strengthen the local economy and make it more resilient. The Post Carbon Institute offers a short online course called Think Resilience that discusses some ways to build more resilient local economies and communities.
While developing Agroage, we are being mindful by sourcing our seeds and materials from local suppliers to promote local economic development. Since fresh produce does not grow outdoors all-year round due to cold weather in Canada, it is more difficult to depend on local agriculture here. We believe that indoor home gardening is a great way to get your greens all-year round, but especially when the weather outside is frightful, and we hope that Agroage can help you do so with our indoor home gardening kits.