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GoodLeaf Farms:

CAN: Import replacement critical to our food sovereignty

With Canada’s limited growing season, we have a historic, almost forced, reliance on imported foods during long periods of the year. The produce aisle of pretty much every major grocery store is stocked with fruits and vegetables from around the world. In the current Canadian food retail sector, as much as 90 percent of the leafy greens consumers buy are imported from Arizona or California.

There is a risk to this, in particular, a risk to Canada’s food sovereignty. At a high level, food sovereignty is a nation’s ability to grow, raise, and process the food it needs to feed its population. The weather has been a great limiting factor impacting or limiting Canada’s food sovereignty. With frigid winters shutting down Canadian agriculture for as much as half the year, it can be a challenge to make sure there is a consistent and steady supply of healthy food for Canadians year-round.

But with technology and innovation in agriculture, Canada is in a position to address that challenge and replace the imports on which we have been relying for generations. This concept — import replacement — is critical to our food sovereignty.

Importing food is a volatile element in a Canadian food system that can be very fragile. A drought or flood can result in food shortages and massive price spikes. Trade disputes or, dare it be said, global pandemics can shut down borders, limiting access to staples and foods we count on. Foreign agriculture subsidies enable farmers from abroad to undercut domestic farmers, adding more instability to our food supply chain.

The more we can replace those imports, the better.

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