Dispelling nutrition myths, ranting, and occasionally, raving


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Local Food Week: Joining a CSA

I first connected with Anne McCutcheon on Twitter because of our mutual addiction to running. In addition to sharing great photos of bicycles and graveyards she also shares witty insights into her life. In this post she shares her story about belonging to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). For more from Anne, follow her on Twitter @AnnelizabethRUN and check out her photos on Instagram @annelizabethrun.

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I, like many Canadians grew up on a farm, the seasons dictated the activities and the weather forecasted the day to day movements. I experienced the usual migration of rural young people to a city for education, but the draw of a small community, and the need for connection to nature brought me back to small town living.  Over time, I developed an interest in the local food movement and thus a natural progression to supporting local farmers is becoming a member a Community supported agriculture farm.

As luck would have it, this was 2010 and 2010 was the year Jeff Boesch and Leslie Moskovits set up shop outside of Neustadt Ontario on the Cedar Downs Farm. It was to be their first year as lead farmers on their very own farm providing vegetable shares to the communities of Hanover, Guelph, and Paisley.   

Becoming a member since it’s inception of the Cedar Downs Farm has allowed myself and my children a connection to the land, and to the farmers that make their living on the farm.  Weekly newsletters provide updates on the weekly, monthly, and yearly harvest of the food grown. Weekly pick ups with Jeff, Leslie and other farm employees provide personal relationships with those who grow our food. 

As the spring comes into summer, and fades into fall, and winter arrives we eat with the seasons based on what is ready that week. My children know we are eating asparagus at every meal in the spring, mid summer is alive with tomato’s and winter means squash soup.

Of course, it is not always perfect. My eyes have been greedy and I came home with too many eggplants that rotted in the fridge and sometimes the thought of eating cabbage yet again makes my daughter request we belong to a fruit only CSA instead.

Overall, the thought of knowing exactly where 75% of our food is produced is worth it. Knowing that mostly there is food in the fridge that will produce a healthy and nutritious meal, even if I have to spend time cooking it.


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Licence to Farm Review (Rant)

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Photo credit: Randall Andrews

As a “consumer” this short documentary wasn’t made for me. It was made for farmers. Maybe that means that my opinions don’t matter. The beauty of having my own blog is that I can opine about anything I desire.

I had many thoughts as I watched the film. I’m very in support of farmers speaking out and as a non-farmer I often look to them for expert opinions. That being said, while this film purported to be about empowering farmers to speak out to me (and your opinion may differ) it felt like a thinly veiled piece of pro-GM (genetic modification) propaganda.

The bulk of the film was about how large-scale farms, GM crops, and pesticides are not bad things. The film urged farmers to speak out in the face of ignorant consumer demands. They also said that we (the unwashed consumer masses) need to hear about the benefits of GMOs and pesticides from the farmers, not from the companies making them. Personally, as a consumer I’d like to hear from both sources but even more so, from independent scientists who don’t have skin in the game. Sorry, I loathe that saying.

It bothered me that the implication was that consumers are too dumb to formulate our own opinions. Yes, I know, people are often irrational and misinformed. However, everyone is a consumer in some regard. Farmers don’t usually grow every single product they consume. You would think that there would be a recognition that a canola farmer (for example) while very knowledgable in that area is not an expert in all things farm. We are not mutually exclusive populations. We are all people. You don’t need to speak to us like “consumers”. Speak to us like human beings. Okay, despite how it sounds, that only bothered me a little bit. The thing that bothered me the most was the one-sidedness of the film.

Why does it seem like every documentary that comes out these days is wholly biased? I suppose it’s the funders, the sensationalism, or the certainty of the filmmakers that they’re in the right. Whatever the reason, it makes it me get my back-up, regardless of the message, even if I was on your side before I watched I’m less likely to be there after. If you’re only going to show me people who are completely biased then I’m going to be much less likely to buy what you’re saying. Don’t diss organic farmers and try to tell everyone that they eschew modern technology. Don’t try to tell me that only large-scale mono-cropping is a viable method of farming. Try to at least respect the choices of others; both within your field (haha) and outside it.


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Follow Friday: @mysoilmate

Soil Mate

Soil Mate is a relatively new website, started by Matt Gomez of Kelowna, BC, to help connect consumers with local farms and farmers’ markets across Canada and the US. It’s as simple as visiting the site and allowing it to use your address. Up pops a list of locations for purchasing local food (or wine) from farmers  across your province or state. You can specify the search options to only show organic, vegetables, CSAs, etc. It’s a great way to discover local food in your area.

If you’re a farmer and want to have your farm added to the site you can contact them to do so.

I hesitate to tell you this because I want to win, but they’re currently running a contest to win a year’s worth of local produce. Details are on the site.