Few trends have had such a seismic impact on Canadian eating habits over the past decade as the local food movement. Not so long ago, eating locally was viewed as an admirable but somewhat impractical option, especially for those living in parts of the country where fresh vegetables are only in season for part of the year. But as a rising tide of local food activism has raised awareness about the health benefits of local food, the environmental impact of long-distance shipping, and the economic benefits that come from a strong culture of local food, local food is seeing something of a renaissance.
This is especially true when it comes to meat. For most of human history, the only meat eaten was produced and processed locally. However, with the rise of industrial agriculture in the 20th century, things began to change, and most of us now have only a vague idea of where the meat we purchase in the supermarket comes from. Even if we know its country of origin, it can be difficult to find out anything about the conditions in which it was raised. Even though most North Americans are more concerned about the origin of their meat than they are about where their fruits and vegetables came from, it is still much easier to find local produce options than it is to find, for example, local pork.
This is unfortunate, because there are many benefits to eating local, sustainably raised meat. Not only does it taste better, it is also better for you. Local, sustainably raised meat contains important nutrients and vitamins, including Vitamin E, beta carotene, and essential omega-3 fatty acids; and because local farms tend to use more artisanal, small-scale processing facilities, local meat is far less prone to hazards caused by contamination and foodborne pathogens like E. coli, it is also safer. If you want to improve your diet and develop better eating habits but still want to be able to eat the meat you enjoy, choosing to purchase local, naturally-raised products is one of the smartest things you can do.
While it can still be difficult to find local meat in the nearest supermarket, there are other ways to get the best fresh, local meat. There are now home delivery services that specialize in local, grass fed meat, and options like truLOCAL — which you can read about at trulocal.ca/grass-fed-beef — can bring boxes of local chicken, pork, and grass-fed beef straight to the door of your apartment, house, office, or cottage anywhere in Ontario. Because orders can be set up to repeat automatically, it is possible to guarantee that fresh, local meat is always on hand.
In addition to the many practical reasons for choosing local options over meat that has travelled long distances from farm to packing plant to table, delivery services like truLOCAL that specialize in locally farmed product make going local a pragmatic choice. Once you’ve experienced the many benefits of a local meat diet, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it sooner.