A Canada grocery store breaks from its parent large chain namesake to support local food. Bound to purchase food dictated by the Sobey’s Chain, the owner could not provide locally sourced food despite growing consumer demand. On July 3, 2009, owner Dale Kropf broke from the Sobey’s chain in order to have more flexibility to provide locally sourced food.
From the article:
Canadians are increasingly subscribing to the “buy local” and “100 mile diet” philosophies due to concerns over imported food, Kropf adds. “The pressure was always mounting — the more recalls, the more bad press from China or wherever the product was coming from. I know that in our case, our private label pickles are made in Indonesia. I couldn’t believe that.”
Like the McDonald article I posted, this story speaks to a local food victory. What is different in this case is that customers demand helped create the change. In both cases, corporate policy forced owners of have to break from the franchise.
What both these stories says to me is that the local trend is not going away and food distributor are starting to take notice. And we the consumers have the ability to create change with our wallet, which will not be ignored.
The more that local food is demanded and purchased, the more grocery stores, and restaurants will provide it. And the increased demand will create an increase in local farms and food producers of all kinds.
So how can we promote change?
The quick answer in my opinion is to push your grocer to provide More Local Foods.
Why the grocer store and not the farmer’s market, a CSA, or home gardening? All these things are great and are growing and need to be supported. At the same time the main source for food distribution is still the super market, and that is where change needs to come from too.
Simply ask the manager in various departments at the grocery store:
“What local products do you offer?”
If they do not know, or they do not have any, tell them that you are committed towards buying more locally sourced food and would like them to supply it.
Also ask what local food is coming. For example, I produce manager will know about a batch of local green beans coming in, or apples, or peaches etc…
If we show a demand for local produce, and create a run on say local peaches, the produce managers will take notice and most likely order more locally sourced items. If say the locally sourced food is selling better than the imported stuff, there will be an incentive for them to get more. Of course, only if their cooperate policy allows.
I am starting to see “Local” and “Michigan” labels on food items at grocery stores like Arbor Farms, Plum and even Whole Foods. They may be more demand for local than there is suppliers which is a good thing because this pushes the market to adapt.