Over the last 60 years, Canada’s overall food system has become more geared to large-scale systems of production, distribution and retail. There is a greater emphasis on export markets for many of our food products. At the same time, we import more food – products which cannot be produced in Canada but also food products which we can grow here.
There is now a growing interest in the production, processing, and buying of local food. New “local food systems” are being set up to organize the various components that will meet the needs of all the stakeholders in the community or region.
This brief examines the local food initiatives or components that comprise these new local food systems, some of the research results, social and economic benefits, and the role that the co-operative movement and governments can play to facilitate the development of local food.