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Make Your Own Cashew ‘Cheese’ in a Zip and put it on Everything!

I looked for a homemade dairy free cheese that tastes good and is easy to prepare for some time. Here is a recipe for Cashew ‘Cheese’ that I use repeatedly. I put the s*@#f on everything including toast, pizza, salads, pasta and even cold soup


Delicious Cashew ‘Cheese’ Recipe


This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite Foodie Blogs  TheHungryWarrior.de – Herby Cashew “Cheese”

This ‘cheese’ has a very similar taste and consistency to ricotta. The Apple Cider Vinegar gives it a nice zip.

1 cup of raw cashews/walnuts (soaked over night)

3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (get it at the health food store)

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2-3 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar (gives it a nice zip)

Herbes de Provence (savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, oregano)

fresh cracked black pepper

How To

  1. Soak nuts over night (about 8 hours) in the refrigerator, drain and rinse well.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until you get an even consistency (no big lumps)
  3. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to a week.

Brown Walnuts

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Oh Gluten, Why Do I Not Eat You So?

Do any of these phrases sound familiar or have you actually used these as reasons for avoiding gluten? 

  • I feel  much better when I don’t eat it
  • I don’t feel so bloated
  • I’m gluten intolerant
  • My guts work much better 
  • I’ve lost weight
  • I just stay away from that stuff
  • Gluten is evil (Thank you, Unknown Bachelorette: Chris’ Season)

If so, then you’ve probably come face to face with this critical question:What in the world IS Gluten? The following video provides some interesting and quasi-enlightening definitions. 

Jimmy Kimmel asks people who avoid gluten, “What is Gluten?

First things first, according the Celiac Disease foundation:

“Gluten is a general name for the proteins found in wheat (wheatberries, durum, emmer, semolina, spelt, farina, farro, graham, KAMUT® khorasan wheat and einkorn), rye, barley and triticale – a cross between wheat and rye. 

Gluten helps foods maintain their shape, acting as a glue that holds food together. Gluten can be found in many types of foods, even ones that would not be expected.”

In Canada, approximately 350,000 people have Celiac Disease which is the inability to process gluten. The Celiac Disease Foundation states: 

“Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disease that damages the villi of the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans, or about 1% of the population, has celiac disease. Celiac disease can affect men and women of all ages and races.”


There are many in the scientific community as well as in popular culture talking about eliminating ‘gluten’ from our diet. They talk about wheat belly, leaky guts, gluten sensitivity or intolerance and how eating gluten may impact the human immunize system. There are others who run in the same circles who claim that ‘gluten intolerance’ is a mere placebo effect, that is, it’s all in the mind. 

Books upon books are trumpeting the message of self-empowerment to take a stand against wheat. A simple Google search will reveal a search engine results page containing leaky gut symptoms, leaky gut treatment, leaky gut syndrome, leaky gut diet plan, and various leaky gut books. 

Dr. Davis, cardiologist, believes that current nutrition guidelines, which include refined wheat, have led the world into a whirlwind of obesity, diabetes, and other ‘modern’ health issues including rheumatoid arthritis and even multiple sclerosis. Wow. Could a few proteins be responsible for that?

Why wouldn’t you take advice from a cardiologist or a nutritionist, who tell you that eating today’s wheat (which has been genetically modified and over processed by big agro) is a major trigger for auto-immune diseases. They point out the ‘nutritional’ mistakes that millions of people are making and provide ‘genuine science’ behind the consumption of whole grains (ancient grains) over refined grains, such as wheat.

Let’s ask Dr. Weil about ‘leaky gut’ syndrome. He states that although ‘leaky gut’ is currently not widely recognized by the medical community as a diagnosis, research is finding that it is a condition that may affect the lining of the intestines. Leaky gut refers to the idea that the walls of the intestines are somehow not that good at keeping toxins, bacteria and waste on the inside. Some of those toxins may go through the lining and end up in the bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory/autoimmune response in the body.  

What do other people in popular culture say?  Here are 10 signs you may be gluten intolerant. Others feel that the ‘gluten-free’ movement is just a marketing ploy that’s ruining our relationship with food.


Below is a video titled “Is gluten sensitivity actually real?”

‘Is gluten sensitivity actually real?”

 

Why I Avoid Gluten

I often get asked why I avoid gluten since I don’t have Celiac disease. As a rule, I avoid gluten (products containing refined wheat including all-purpose flour) and here are some things I noticed when I initially stopped eating it. Obviously, this information is anecdotal and shared for information purposes only.

1. When there was no bread to dive into, fruit and veggies took its place. As soon as I eliminated wheat based food, (it was “easier” to munch on a muffin, toast or make a sandwich), I found that I was eating many more fruits and vegetables.

2. As a result of eating more fruit and vegetables, I lost weight.

3. I felt better after losing weight – the fruit, vegetables, smoothies, and proper hydration made my digestive system ‘miraculously’ work much better (I will spare you the details).

4. I know that when I eat gluten, I over eat. It just tastes so darn good. So as a lifestyle choice, I just stay away from gluten as much as possible.

Am I gluten intolerant? No. Are some people gluten intolerant? Research is on going.

What about the Gluten Free Diet and Gluten Free Products?

CBC Market place did a very informative piece on eating a gluten free diet and commercially available gluten free products. Help or Marketing Hype? You decide.

I couldn’t help but include a video that pokes a bit of fun at those of us who embrace a gluten free diet by choice (those of us who DO NOT have Celiac disease but choose to avoid gluten anyway). The video is titled ‘How to Become Gluten Intolerant”. Thank you, Cindy for passing this video on.

Additional reading on Gluten:

Live Science: What is Gluten?

Canadian Celiac Association: What does ‘gluten free’ mean in Canada?

Washington Post: How the gluten-free movement is ruining our relationship with food

FDA: Gluten free now means what it says

Dr. Weil.com: Leaky Gut

Dr. William Davis: Wheat Belly Blog

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Vancouver Island Feast of Fields 2016: City Folk Connecting with Farm Folk

Written and Photographed by Jane Grueber

 

 

We attended the 19th Annual Vancouver Island Feast of Fields on Sunday, August 28, 2016 in Metchosin, British Columbia, Canada.

The event was hosted by the FarmFolk CityFolk group which has hosted 50 feasts so far around the province of British Columbia, including in Metro Vancouver, Okanagan, Sea to Sky Country and Vancouver Island.

Feast of Fields with beautiful Garry Oaks

FarmFolk CityFolk is a not-for-profit society that works to promote a local and sustainable food system, from farm to table. It was founded in 1993 by an organic farmer who realized that there was a ‘disconnect between city folks and the farm folks who were growing their food.’

 This was the 19th year for the Feast of Fields and every dollar raised goes toward supporting sustainable agriculture and promoting local food grown on Vancouver Island.
Sunflowers on the Farm
The event put a spotlight on food that is produced on Vancouver Island and what chefs create with locally sourced food.
Walking to the Feast with the misty ocean in the background
Guests sampled diverse cuisine that reflects the unique geography and culture of the Island. Feast of Fields is a way to create connections between local farmers, ranchers, fishers, vintners, brewers, distillers and food artisans, chefs and the public.

Although we got some much needed rain during the event, the pastoral ocean-front setting along with the fresh smells of country and farm set the mood for this sumptuous feast of fine foods and beverages.

Mouth Watering Eats 

Roasted Parry Bay Farm Lamb, Chimichurri, Tree Island Yogurt, fresh mint & lemon from The Whole Beast Salumeria
  • Wild Fire Bakery and Fry’s Bakery served up Siften Red Fife Wheat Focaccia with local blackberries, fresh rosemary and black pepper & Double chocolate course rye cookies
  • Little Jumbo had Halibut ceviche with cilantro, jalapeno, lime and red onion with an ancho-agave puree
  • Royal Bay Bakery dished out Apple Fritters with Royal Bay Bakery honey glaze, Pain a l’ancient Twist and Blackberry Brie Blossoms which we all agreed were absolutely killer!
  • Artisan Bistro provided a scrumptious Tuna poke with a mango, avocado chile and soy syrup on a wonton crisp
  • In Cahoots offered a lovely Cauliflower Poppycock – puffed cauliflower, chickpeas, rice, sunflower and pumpkin seeds with brewers wort caramel. They are passionate about taking food back to basics. In Cahoots embraces local food and showcase what the Island has to offer.
Madison & Margot of In Cahoots Victoria

Drinks for Everyone

Ampersand Distilling Co. GIN
Blackberries on the Farm

Innovative Ideas

  • Growing Chefs! Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture is a non-profit society that works with the chef community to get kids excited about good, healthy food. They work with local school districts to teach elementary school kids to grow and cook their own food.
  • Soilmate.com is an innovative website that connects consumers with local food producers and how they grow/raise food, when its available and where it is available.
Feast of Fields
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Love Zucchini? Make this Delicious Zucchini Tart Today

I came across a recipe for a Zucchini Tart with Feta cheese in May 2006 by Lynne Curry in Saveur Magazine. That was the best magazine subscription I ever had. So much yumminess, food and culture was inspiring and pushed me into trying many ‘foreign’ ingredients.

In 2006, I was a mere newlywed and a poor cook, who found all ingredients mystifying. In those days, I scrambled to put something that wasn’t tasteless, overcooked, or saturated and expanded to the size of a small country on the dinner table. My husband cooked, too. We often threw in the towel and resorted to buying fish sticks and lots of plum sauce.

And so when I came across Saveur Magazine at a bookstore – I wasn’t intimidated – I was ready for a serious foodie make over. To this day, just the thought of fish sticks and plum sauce engages my gag reflex. Anyway, I rolled up my sleeves and dug down deep. This Zucchini Tart was the first creation that came out tasting so wonderful – it had flavour, it wasn’t burnt or a ball of mush.

There is the issue – A Taste of New Zealand

Ten years later, I found this magazine packed up in a box from our recent move to Vancouver Island. The cover, which features the Zucchini Tart, spoke to me. Since we have zucchini growing wildly in our garden, this was the perfect opportunity to recreate a wonderful dish with a few slight modifications – no feta, no ricotta, no puff pastry and no butter.

Here it is…


Recipe

Ingredients

1 recipe for pizza crustgluten free pizza crust, your favorite pizza crust or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix (I love this stuff)

12 small zucchini (~2.5 lbs)

salt

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

10 cherry tomatoes, finely chopped, strained in a sieve (to remove excess moisture)

1 1/2 cup (4 oz) cashew ‘cheese’

2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

freshly group black pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

How To

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Make pizza crust and stretch across a 12 inch round pan OR a 9 x 12 baking sheet.
  3. Grate 4 of the zucchini on large holes of a box grater into a large bowl or use a food processor with slicing attachment.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, toss well, and set aside to let weep for 30 minutes (take out some of the moisture so your tart doesn’t become soggy). Transfer to a kitchen towel and wring thoroughly to remove moisture.
  5. Meanwhile, slice remaining zucchini into 1/4 inch thick rounds.
  6. Working in batches, blanch rounds in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute. Drain and spread out on a towel-lined sheet pan; set aside.
  7. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes. Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown, 5-7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
  8. Stir tomatoes, half of the ‘cheese’, basil, and salt and pepper to taste into the zucchini mixture.

  9. Stir in egg and spread evenly in crust.
  10. Arrange blanched zucchini rounds, slightly overlapping in rows, like tiles, on top.

  11. Bake 15 minutes, then brush the top with some more olive oil. Continue to bake until crust is golden, about 10 minutes more.
  12. Let cool to room temperature, then sprinkle remaining ‘cheese’ over top.
  13. Cut into slices or squares and serve.
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On the Farm: Cooling Cucumber Salad

Guest Blog Post by Carolyn Herriot

Grower of IncrEdibles!

The great thing about summer is there is always something growing in the garden. Right now, it happens to be cucumbers. With these green beauties ripening in droves, it is the perfect time to make this easy and refreshing salad.

Just in case you need a reason to eat your cucumbers, here are just a few to get you excited about this amazing vegetable:

  • Fresh cucumbers are made mostly of water and electrolytes, which helps prevent dehydration.
  • They contain three different lignans (unique polyphenols) that may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and fight different types of cancers.
  • Fresh cucumbers have recently been shown to have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cucumbers are a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese.

For more information about the health benefits of cucumbers see MedicalNewToday.com‘s article Cucumbers: Health Benefits, Facts, Research.

 

Cooling Cucumber Salad Recipe

Ingredients

2 lbs cucumbers, peeled and thinly sliced (a mandolin works well for this)

2 green onions, chopped small

1 garlic clove, finely minced

1/2 cup cooked basmati rice or quinoa

Dressing Ingredients

4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon liquid honey

2 teaspoons dried dill or 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

How To

1. Combine the veggies, cooled grain and dressing.

2. Leave in the refrigerator to marinte for about 2 hours before serving.

3. This refreshing salad will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Image result for picture of carolyn herriot

Carolyn Herriot is author of The Zero-Mile Diet and The Zero-Mile Diet Cookbook. Available at your local bookstore. She grows IncrEdibles! in Yellow Point on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

www.incredibles.vision

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Fresh Strawberry Easy-as-Pie Recipe

We have been having some hot weather and our strawberries are producing fruit – again. We had our first crop in June and now here we go with a second growth.

The second coming of strawberries makes me giddy. I had to dust off my Fresh Strawberry Pie recipe so that I can make it and share it.

This recipe is super simple and dairy free. I love desserts that allow fresh fruit to take center stage.

I have included a regular single-pie crust pastry recipe as well as a nut-based crust (gluten free) recipe that works just as well. In fact, I prefer the nut-based crust with this recipe.

This is a great dessert for any occasion. Let’s get to it.

Recipes


Pie Filling Recipe

Ingredients

6 cups strawberries, cut in half

1 cup water

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup sugar/coconut nectar/honey (whatever your preference)

2 tablespoons of corn starch

How To

1. In a food processor or blender, combine 1 cup of strawberries, lemon juice and the water. Cover and process until smooth.

2. Transfer to a small sauce pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, for 2 minutes.

3. In a medium saucepan, combine sweetener and corn starch, stir in the strawberry mixture.

(in a small bowl, combine cornstarch with a couple of tablespoons of water and mix it with a fork until mixture is smooth and then combine with sweetener – this prevents lumps)

4. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

5. Cook and stir for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat.

6. Cool to room temperature. Fold remaining 5 cups of fresh strawberries into the cooled mixture.

7. Transfer to pie shell or raw nut crust. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours.

Serve with whipped topping such as Whipped Coconut Cream.

Single-Crust Pie Recipe

This is the easiest and best pie crust recipe that I have been able to find. Gloria Donahue (a.k.a. Nana) has some great tips on how to make pie crust and she tells it like it is. She teaches this recipe to elementary school kids. It is worth it to watch this video if you want to make great pie crust. I subscribe to her YouTube channel and have learned so much from her.

 

Ingredients


1 cups +2 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup vegetable oil (your choice of oil)

2 tablespoons ice water (it has to be cold)

How To

1. In a medium bowl, stir together flour and salt

2. Add cooking oil

3. Add ice water

3. Stir lightly with a fork until it forms into a ball (don’t over mix – Nana says that pie crust doesn’t like to be handled and it’s OK if it isn’t perfect)

4. Roll out using a rolling pin and wax paper with pie dough in between two sheets of wax paper.

5. Roll into pie dish. Prick bottom and sides of pastry generously with the tines of a fork.

6. Bake in a 450 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until pastry is golden.

7. Cool on a wire rack.

Nut-Based Pie Crust

Ingredients 

1 cup cashew/macadamia nuts/almonds (whatever nut you prefer)

2/3 cup dried figs/Medjool dates, pitted (about 10)

1 tsp vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract

1/8 tsp sea salt (cuts the sweetness so don’t exclude)

1 tbsp honey or coconut nectar (buy it at Save On Foods in the Baking aisle)

How To

1. Use a 9 inch pie plate or a 6 inch ceramic tart dish.

2. To make the crust: Place nuts, figs/dates, vanilla, salt, and coconut nectar in a food processor.

3. Process until crumbly and the mixture sticks together when you press it between your fingers.

4. Press the crust into the ceramic dish. Press the dough down from the center out to form the crust.

5. Place the crust in the freezer for firm up while you make the strawberry pie filling.

Strawberries in our Garden

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Producers of Specialty Superfoods in Central Vancouver Island

Welcome to our official Seedling in the Wind Micro-Farm Website and Blog.

Our Micro-Farm is located in Central Vancouver Island and dedicated to growing, producing and selling Superfoods.

 

Read about what we are growing and offering at our MicroFarm Stand to You here.

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Our Brief Story

We moved to our 1.6 acre lot in Summer 2017 to pursue our passion for growing herbs, berries, fruit and greens that are highly nourishing and healing. Before taking our passion to the dirt, we grew our own food on the front lawn of our suburban home, saved seeds and dreamed about creating a community where all people can grow, share and thrive.

Our Philosophy

Everything we need to nourish our bodies, minds and souls is found beneath our feet. The planet provides us with the medicine and nutrition we need for maintaining optimal balance in our bodies as well as for supporting recovery and return to healthy balance.

Backstory

This site started out as Recipes of My Home Blog that was dedicated to the pursuit of delicious & healthy comfort food, recipes that stand the test of time and information for living a life well nourished.

We wanted the website to be a hub of information where everyone can find resources, useful books, recipes and inspiration. Creating community and following one’s joy are, in our minds, the absolute necessities of life. Our joyful path took us deeper and closer to nature and to staring our MicroFarm.

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Check out our Nature Photo Gallery here.

Gallery Shop  Opening December 2018 ~ We invite you to peruse and purchase our Original Vancouver Island Photography on Canvas in our Gallery Shop. Proceeds go toward purchasing heritage seeds, bat guano, worm castings and farm equipment.

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Growing food, feeding others, and sharing the fruits of my labour nourish the mind and soul. Nature and all it’s wonders inspire us on a daily basis to eat well, to breathe, to be a good steward of the earth, and to ensure food security for all.

Check out Food Security Resources here. 

Food security for all is perhaps a lofty goal, but grassroots initiatives such as urban gardens and hyper-local microfarms continue to show the world that immediate quality-of-life changes can happen when we put our minds and backs into them.

Read my article about what we can all do to Create Food Security here.

Read more about our Front Yard Urban Garden Project here.

My name is Jane and I am a farmer.

This blog was and will continue to be a channel for my enthusiasm for great food, great recipes and cookbooks, both new and old. It is also my way of showing support for sustainable agriculture & locally sourced, organic foods. My family and I grow our own food using organic agriculture principals as much as we can and support our local, small scale growers & producers by purchasing their fresh, organic produce.

Although I have been concerned about the planet and the damaging repercussions human behavior has upon our finite resources since primary school, it dawned on me within the last 5 years that we are in fact utilizing our natural resources (water, lumber, agricultural land) frivolously, carelessly and even dangerously. It was at that time, that I began to grow my own food in earnest as a way to reclaim some of my power as a consumer and as an inhabitant of the planet.

Read about inspiring grassroots Urban Agriculture Projects around the World here.

A dozen eggs doesn’t need to be uniform and large, meat doesn’t need to glisten with red dye, fruit and vegetables can be unattractive and deliciously nutrient dense and most certainly, food doesn’t need to be laden with refined ingredients such as sugar.

I am inspired by those who love to get their hands dirty in the garden and use those simple ingredients to make wonderful home cooked meals. This blog is dedicated to all the amazing home chefs in my life who have taught me so much and to those who care about the future of our planet by acting ethically in the present.

Check out a list of my favorite Plant-Based Cookbooks here.

Download my ‘Top 5 Desserts’ ebook for Free here.

I am a relentless seeker and tweaker of  recipes. Sometimes, I develop my own recipes especially when it comes to avoiding things like gluten, sugar and dairy.  Comfort foods are essential to my way of life and good recipes are worth finding, developing and writing down for future generations.

Check out my Favorite (mostly) Plant-Based Recipes here.

Several years ago, the cooking bug really bit me hard when I was in New Orleans and visited a little shop called The Kitchen Witch on Toulouse Street in the French Quarter.  It was pouring rain out and I dove into this shop to get some reprieve. The owner of the shop, Philipe La Mancusa, turned out to be a  professional chef who taught at one of the New Orleans Culinary Schools. Unfortunately, the school was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The shop was a quirky and eclectic collection of cookbooks, art and music. We shared our enthusiasm for cookbooks and cooking while I changed my infant daughter’s diaper on his table. He proudly showed me pictures of his three granddaughters whose names were so beautiful I almost stole them for my other kids.

Check out my list of books for Connecting Children with Nature here.
new-orleans-street-view

To make a long story short, I bought a first edition Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Louisiana Kitchen cookbook originally published in 1984. I wanted a book that truly embodied the local cuisine and Mr. LaMancusa promptly suggested Louisiana Kitchen.  For this, I am very grateful. Not only are the recipes staples for any kitchen but the whole book weaves Prudhomme’s life story, culinary philosophy and commitment to fresh food throughout and is truly inspirational. It is a cookbook that I refer to over and over again.

Product Details

My hope is that you will find joy and inspiration here as well as some good recipes. It’s not enough to just read, YOU Have to Leave a Comment! It’s your way to leave a mark on this world you live in.

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Download your Free Top 5 Dessert Recipes eBook Here 

This eBook contains smashing desserts that contain NO refined sugar, dairy or flour.

Simple food, made with real ingredients!

#realfoodistheingredient

Make your own Chocolate Coconut Beach Balls or Strawberry Easy-As-Pie and top it off with some amazing Frozen Fruit Ice Cream!

From my dessert loving heart to yours, enjoy!

thumbnail-of-top-5-desserts

 Follow Recipes of My Home (fill in the sign up form in the bottom right corner of your screen) and get new blog posts directly to your inbox. What will you get for following? New recipe eBooks, ideas, simply delicious recipes, ideas for wasting less food and money as well as up to date information about the world of food.

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Why Buy Locally Sourced Food?

Written by Jane Grueber

Sustainable, organic and local are the Gold Standard when it comes to fresh food. What is local? Are locally grown or raised foods better than those produced by conventional industrial agriculture? Does buying local matter?

The term ‘locavore’ was coined in 2012 to describe those people choosing to purchase food close to where they live. How close is close? Many consumers and producers agree that food grown or raised within about 50 to 100 miles from your home is local.

Image result for farmer stand images free

 In Canada, about 60% of ‘locally’ grown or raised food is sold through other venues (not supermarkets). It can be found in health food stores, community supported agriculture projects, farmers’ markets, pick-your-own, farm gate stores, or gleaning (collecting the food left behind after the  harvest). Chefs and restaurants are some of the biggest users of ‘local’ products.

Image result for farmer stand images free

Do the terms ‘local’ or ‘regional’ mean that the food is grown in a sustainable manner or that it is better, healthier, more nutritious, or better tasting? The people at Sustainable Table say that this is not necessarily the case.

“It only means that a food was produced relatively close to where it’s sold – the term doesn’t provide any indication of food qualities such as freshness, nutritional value, or production practices, and can’t be used as a reliable indicator of sustainability.”

“The local/regional food system is used to describe a method of food production and distribution that is geographically localized, rather than national and/or international.
Food is grown or raised and harvested close to consumers’ homes, then distributed over much shorter distances than is common in the conventional global industrial food system.  In general, local/regional food systems are associated with sustainable agriculture, while the global industrial food system is reliant upon industrial agriculture”.
(Sustainable Table: Local & Regional Food Systems, p. 1)

Organic practices are clearly laid out and legislated. Farmers must meet stringent criteria year after year to keep their organic certification. Some local farmers may follow organic practices but choose not to get their product organic certified. They may market their products at the farm gate as non-spray, biodynamic or pesticide-free but not wield the actual organic certified stamp.

Picture by Ryan McGuire

In contrast, the terms ‘local’ or ‘regional’ are neither clearly defined nor legislated. The terms are essentially moving targets. The availability of ‘local’ food depends on the growing capacity of the region. If you live in a region that can grow food throughout the year, it will be easier to get your hands on fresh food grown close to home (within 100 miles). If you live in less forgiving climes then ‘local’ sourcing of food may be much more challenging and ‘regionally’ sourced food may be more appropriate (e.g., food grown in Western Canada).

Why buy local?

It is likely that at this point in time, organic producers are your local farmers; your neighbors.

“Local food systems rely upon a network of small, usually sustainably-run, family farms (rather than large industrially run farms) as the source of farm products.”

“Many small-scale, local farms attempt to ameliorate the environmental damage done via industrial farming by focusing on sustainable practices, such as minimized pesticide use, no-till agriculture and composting, minimized transport to consumers, and minimal to no packaging for their farm products.”

Buyer beware of ‘greenwashing. According to Sustainable Table, due to increased consumer demand for ‘local’ or ‘regional’ food and the vague definition of these labels, some industrial producers are marketing their food as ‘local’ or ‘regional’ to imply that their foods are grown closer and/or more sustainably than they actually are.

Here are some resources and good reads on the topic of buying local:

  1. The Benefits of Eating Local Foods
  2. Community Research Connection: Farmers’ Markets and Local Food Systems
  3. Sustainable Table – Seasonal Food Guide
  4. Sustainable Table – Local and Regional Food Systems
  5. BC Farms & Food Map
  6. A Taste of Vancouver Island: Dining Guide

Picture by Ryan McGuire


Here are top 10 reasons for eating local from EcoWatch.com:

  1. Supports local farms: keeps local farms healthy and creates local jobs at local farms and in local food processing and distribution systems.
  2. Boosts local economy
  3. Less travel: local food travels short distances and therefore relies on less fossil fuels
  4. Less waste: because of shorter distribution chains for local foods, less food is wasted in distribution, warehousing and merchandising
  5. More freshness: this goes without saying – local food is fresher, healthier and tastes better because it spends less time in transit from farm to plate. It is also picked when it is actually ripe so it has the maximal amount of nutrients.
  6. New and better flavors: appreciate new flavors of seasonal fruit and vegetables
  7. Good for the soil: local food encourages diversification of local agriculture, which reduces reliance on monoculture-single crop grown over a wide area to the detriment of soils.
  8. Attracts tourists: local foods promote agrotourism
  9. Preserves open space: buying local food helps local farms survive and thrive, keeping land from being redeveloped into suburban sprawl.
  10. Builds more connected communities: local foods create more vibrant communities by connecting people with the farmers and food produces who bring them healthy local foods.