Eatin’ la vida lo­cal

More Cana­di­ans favour lo­cal food over im­ported, di­eti­tians sur­vey re­veals


More Cana­di­ans favour lo­cal food over im­ported, di­eti­tians sur­vey re­veals.

Know­ing where food comes from and how it is grown and har­vested as well as how to choose foods for op­ti­mum nutri­tion is the fo­cus of March’s na­tional Nutri­tion Month cam­paign.

The theme this year is “Cel­e­brate food ... from field to ta­ble!” and a sur­vey re­leased in time for the an­nual cam­paign spon­sored by the Di­eti­tians of Canada shows that Cana­di­ans favour food pro­duced in this coun­try.

Of all the foods pro­duced in Canada, the most pop­u­lar iden­ti­fied by re­spon­dents were beef, cheese, corn on the cob, pota­toes, ap­ples and maple syrup.

The on­line Ip­sos Reid/Di­eti­tians of Canada sur­vey of 2,201 Cana­di­ans con­ducted from Nov. 25 to Dec. 8, 2009, also found 86 per cent of re­spon­dents feel con­fi­dent the food they eat in Canada is safe.

As well, 96 per cent be­lieve that the term “healthy” de­scribes foods found in their re­gion while most oth­ers say that the words “fresh” (94 per cent), “abun­dant” (88 per cent), “di­verse” (85 per cent) and “good value” (82 per cent) also de­scribe their re­gion­ally pro­duced foods well.

Fi­nally, al­most eight in 10 (78 per cent) agree that it is im­por­tant for them to know where their food is grown.

“The big im­pe­tus is to get peo­ple to fo­cus on un­der­stand­ing where their food comes from other than as­sum­ing ev­ery­thing is just neat be­cause it comes from the gro­cery store in a pretty pack­age,” says Di­eti­tians of Canada spokesper­son Mary Bam­ford.

“We need to have Cana­di­ans ques­tion what they are ac­tu­ally feed­ing their fam­i­lies,” the Toronto di­eti­tian adds. “Is it food or a food-like sub­stance?”

The sur­vey found that 59 per cent be­lieve it to be true that fruits and veg­eta­bles pro­duced closer to where they live con­tain more nu­tri­ents than those that have trav­elled from afar, while 41 per cent think this claim is false.

It also found that as a way of con­trol­ling their food bills, eight in 10 Cana­di­ans are cook­ing at home more of­ten.

Likely in or­der to save money due to the strug­gling econ­omy over the past year, many Cana­di­ans are also check­ing weekly fly­ers for sales or are us­ing coupons (76 per cent). The sur­vey found too that al­most half are go­ing without more costly food (49 per cent) and are buy­ing in bulk (44 per cent), while oth­ers are buy­ing from a farm­ers mar­ket (27 per cent) and grow­ing their own gar­den (24 per cent).

Bam­ford says that gar­den­ing at home is a grow­ing trend, and it doesn’t have to be on a large scale.

“ You can grow some toma­toes in a pot, veg­eta­bles on a ter­race, bal­cony win­dow or in a small cor­ner of your yard.”

If gar­den­ing isn’t an op­tion, Bam­ford sug­gests shop­ping at the grow­ing num­ber of farm­ers mar­kets across Canada.

“Take the kids and ask the farm­ers some ques­tions about how he or she grows their fruits or veg­eta­bles, ques­tions that many peo­ple don’t have the an­swer to any­more.”

Dur­ing th­ese shop­ping ex­pe­di­tions at the mar­ket, let your chil­dren choose a new food each visit, Bam­ford sug­gests.

In cel­e­bra­tion of healthy eat­ing, di­eti­tians across Canada unite to or­ga­nize events and com­mu­nica-

The Cana­dian Press

Di­eti­tian Mary Bam­ford, a spokesper­son for Di­eti­tians of Canada's Nutri­tion Month, is shown in this un­dated hand­out photo.

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