The push to eat healthy and opt for locally sourced home-cooked meals received national attention on Saturday as chefs and restaurants across the country marked the ninth annual Food Day Canada.
The brainchild of food writer Anita Stewart, Food Day Canada promotes Canadian ingredients, celebrates Canadian farmers and food producers and praises the many restaurateurs and home cooks who make use of the bounty growing in their backyard.
“The nutritional value is incredibly different,” said Shawn Robinson, who grows organic vegetables at Heart’s Content farm on Jerseyville Road.
“The food is still alive, in a sense,” shortly after being picked, which produces freshness and taste that imports cannot match, he said.
Robinson is among the dozens of local food producers who display their homegrown offerings every Saturday at the farmers’ market on Icomm Drive in Brantford. On Food Canada Day, shoppers filled the bustling market looking for fresh fruit and vegetables, homemade bread, local cheese and other delicacies for their dinner tables.
“It’s our generation’s responsibility to grow local, organic produce for the generations to come so it’ll be sustainable,” Robinson said.
One of Food Day Canada’s advocacy goals is for retailers to carry more Canadian products. While he appreciates the incentives currently offered to organic farmers, Robinson hopes the government will make it easier for families to resist what he called “development pressures” and buy their own small farms.
“It’s a hard go,” Robinson said of organic farming, which involves higher costs and smaller yields as a consequence of harvesting a pesticide-free product. “I’ll be lucky to break even this year.”