How close are you to your food?
A growing number of Canadians have decided that a long-distance relationship between the farm and their dinner plate isn't working out. As consumers seek out the flavours of local vine-ripened fruits, heritage tomatoes and farm-fresh eggs, the locavore (someone who exclusively or at least primarily eats local foods) movement is growing in popularity and profitability. If your business fits the locavore model, you could have access to customers who are committed to buying locally.
The artisan cheese industry is one of Canada's biggest locavore success stories. Delicious and unique cheeses being made in Canada are receiving glowing reviews from food lovers and restaurateurs across the country. These include goat milk cheeses from Saltspring Island, buffalo mozzarella from Ontario and traditionally-made cheddar from Prince Edward Island.
By incurring fewer "food miles" (the distance your food travels from the producer to the consumer), local food reduces the financial and environmental costs of transportation. It has other benefits as well: producing food locally helps support your local economy and provides farm fresh food for your community.
You may want to consider the following approaches to selling local food:
- Consider using the community-supported agriculture model to raise capital at the beginning of the year. In return for a financial contribution, customers become members of your farm and receive fresh produce throughout the growing season.
- Take advantage of farmers' markets that are springing up in cities and towns across Canada and reach consumers who are looking for the ultimate in fresh meat, dairy products, eggs and produce.
- Approach local restaurants. Many chefs are highlighting local flavours and ingredients, from foraged morel mushrooms to artisan cheeses.
For more information on producing and selling food, check out our Agriculture and agri-food research and statistics section.