The Hidden Benefits of Local Food Sourcing
Today’s consumers are facing an increasingly complex decision-making process about their food choices based on economic, social, environmental, and health factors. In this blog, we’re looking at the dynamics behind local food sourcing, and explore 5 reasons for why it’s on the Federal agenda.
Supporting Local Economies and Farmers
Have you ever heard of the term “Locavore”? It refers to a person who primarily eats locally grown or produced food that is in season. More than a fad, it's a growing trend among many Canadians for good reasons – as of recently, even the federal government is pushing for it.
In 2019, the Canadian government committed an investment of $25 million over five years for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) to coordinate the Buy Canadian Food Campaign. The aim of this campaign is to develop a national approach, deepen the connection between Canadians and their food system. and instil appreciation for local agriculture, food, and, seafood products.
The Agriculture sector is one of Canada's largest employers, giving jobs to 2.3 million Canadians. While those numbers are staggering, there's a lot of room to grow when it comes to presenting Canada's agricultural achievements in the general public. As of now, millions of dollars unwittingly go towards imported products when local alternatives are both available and in season.
In Alberta, where TrustBIX is based, one sixth of the population lives in rural communities, where around 40,000 farming operations produce cattle, grains, vegetables, berries, dairy products, other farm animals, and pulses. Collectively, farming in Alberta generates about $13 billion in farm cash receipts – money that is often invested in other local businesses in rural communities. Maintaining farming revenue within these communities contributes to economic growth and stability, and sustains farming as an important root of local heritage and lifestyle.
Enhancing Food Security
As recent global trade issues and developments illustrate, the food sector (just as any other branch within the global economy) can be subject to geopolitical shocks. One way to counteract the effects is by focusing on internal stability.
Buying locally ensures consistent supply and demand for agricultural food production within Canada, and makes the country as a whole more resilient towards unpredictable global events by reducing dependency on foreign-sourced commodities and food imports.
Transparency and Responsible Sourcing
Today, our producers compete with global firms to source food. Thanks to organizations like Canada 2020, the national Food Brand has a very good reputation. That's important for food advocacy as consumers want to know what they're buying. Traceability and transparency within the food supply chain through technology and big data are part of the equation as consumers demand to stay informed and want to feel good about what they are putting on their plates.
In a 2016 report by the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, three critical groups of consumers — parents, millennials, and foodies — were surveyed. According to the report, 60% were interested in knowing about farming practices, use of hormones in farm animals, and pesticides in crop production, as well as drug residues in meat, milk, and eggs.
In this context as well, local is key: creating coherent guidelines for food traceability is far easier within a Canadian framework than within international supply chains where on-farm management practices, standards, or enforcement differ widely and are difficult to track.
Sustainability aims at farming practices that are healthy for the environment and animals, for the economy and farms, and for the communities in which they live, grow, and operate. It focuses on meaningful engagement of and respect for the people providing the labour and the land they work on.
Sustainability takes dedication, and it's worth the effort: investing in local food industries guarantees a higher impact for Canadians on the way their food gets produced and the sustainability standards applied in the process. That means more control over our food and support for our economy. It’s an investment we can see, feel, and taste every day.
At TrustBIX, we help producers share their story with consumers through every bite. So far, we have helped the Canadian beef industry create the world’s first digital chain of custody for a sustainable beef supply chain, and we are now exploring more ways to expand our sustainability and traceability solutions into other food production verticals in Canada and around the world.
Through our secure, cloud-based Business Info Xchange System (BIX) in combination with other professional services, we have created a collaborative business model that allows retailers to collect data from their supply chain partners, and, in return, offer financial incentives to operations that meet certain management practice standards.
Taking this idea further, we want TrustBIX to become the most trusted and largest source of third-party food traceability and sustainability information on the planet: providing information from Gate to Plate®.
If you want to know more about TrustBIX, get in touch with us today.