4 Ways to Support Local

Posted on February 11, 2017

February 16th is Canada’s Agriculture Day, so it’s a great time to think about local business and eating local. You might have heard about “local” as a rising trend in business, but what does it mean to support local businesses. According to the REAP Business Association in Calgary, “Locally owned businesses spend, on average, 25% more of their revenue locally. This means your money recirculates in Calgary 2-4x and creates more good each time it changes hands.” Local businesses spend money locally, instead of sending it to headquarters outside of Calgary, Alberta, or even Canada. This means that supporting local business supports all the economy of the city, making Calgary grow and become more self-sufficient in the process.

How does this relate to food? On top of supporting local business, buying local food has lower transportation distance, meaning that it generates less pollution getting from the producer to your table. It’s also more likely to be in season! Even if it’s from a greenhouse, local produce will be picked closer to ripeness than food that need to suffer long truck rides – so it will be tastier, too!

So what are a few ways to support local business and food? Here are 4:

Visit Farmers’ Markets. Even with the sad loss of Symons Valley Ranch recently, there are many Farmers’ Markets in Calgary that feature produce from local farms and other locally-made products! There are year-round markets, as well as seasonal and annual market events. If you find a producer you like, too, ask where they’ll be selling!

Ask Questions in the Grocery Store. It’s not too difficult! Many grocery stores carry lots of produce from local farms, even if it’s sometimes difficult to find. Community Natural Foods, for example, carries a wide array of local products and they have staff on hand to answer your questions!

Contact Farms Directly. Did you know that there are directories to search for who produces what you want? You can search Alberta Farm Fresh Producers Association to find all sorts of local farms and call them yourself!

Eat at Local Restaurants. Calgary has some great local fare, whether you want pizza & beer, or maybe something a little fancier. Calgarians can find great food at places like UNA Pizza + Wine and great drink at Village Brewery, but that’s just the beginning. Check out REAP Business Association’s Living Locally section for more.

Make your Own! Of course, one of the biggest things you can do to eat local is to make your own food! Gardening doesn't have to be a great challenge, but before you start planting for the season, why not come and learn more about making great compost with us? We can teach you about soil health and making natural fertilizers in our workshops!

Have any other ideas how to support local? We’d love to hear about it! Share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter! While you're there, find out more about Canada's Agriculture Day with the hashtags #CanAg and #CanAgDay.