Saturday, April 7, 2012

Food Subsidies Important Compliment to Canadian Agriculture

When I shop for meat and vegetables, I look first for local, organic and home grown rather than supporting the USDA beef from feed lots or pesticide laden, enhanced products from abroad.  Remember too, that in season foods are fresher.  Buying spinach, for example, can be tricky when the source is California, where water is scarce and dirt may be on the leaves which means it's possible to get diseases from poor cleaning.  Similarly, openly displayed bean sprouts carry huge amounts of bacteria for those who eat it raw. 

But it's getting harder to get Ontario grown foods in the supermarkets, and indeed, we're being encouraged through lower prices of foreign imports to buy more out of country foods.  Wallmart is undercutting local prices and can afford to thrown away spoiled goods which green grocers cannot.  But I have a rabbit and chickens that are quite happy to get scraps; being frugal and conscious of waste, I often take day olds for volume freezing and soup bases. 

So, that's my outlook and I wish that mainstream papers would cover these views much more that simply pushing the big business interests.  Read the comments of the Star and Globe to see how we're not being served by Canadian agricultural policies.

The US agricultural sector has always been massively subsidised so this is not a problem caused by Obama but by the Mulroney government in the first place agreeing to NAFTA and allowing our agricultural products, not covered by "supply management" to be wiped out by subsidised US goods. Try finding Canadian made food products in your local supermarket. US subsidised agriculture especially corn and corn based fructose has wiped out mexican farmers , many of whom as an unintended consequence are now illegal immigrants to the US trying to make a living. Supply management makes some products more expensive for the consumer but getting rid of them will make us entirely dependednt on the US food supply and then watch prices rise.