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Local Food 101

Have you ever wondered why certain foods are labelled Organic and others Natural.  What is the difference between Grass Fed Beef and Corn Fed Beef?  Should you buy the Free Range Eggs or those from Free Run Hens?  Are there Nutritional advantages of one over the other?  And who makes the decisions concerning Certification and Labelling in Canada?  If you have asked any of these questions, then this section is for you! 

Based on some of the most commonly-asked questions about our food, Foodlink has compiled Local Food 101 to help you navigate through the confusion that surrounds food and agriculture terminology today. 

Choose topics to explore from the categories listed below.  This list will grow over time.  Should there be a term that's not here that you'd like to see covered, please let us know.  We'll do our homework to help get you the facts on your food!

Local Food

Local food is, by definition, food produced within close proximity of where one lives.  But at what distance does local become imported? The definition of local is somewhat flexible and can be affected by both the consumer and the food in question.

A tomato can be grown as close as ten feet from your home if you have a backyard garden or perhaps 10 - 50 km away in a farmerís field.  It can also come from a greenhouse 100 km away. It could have been harvested on the outskirts of your city, within the surrounding foodshed, in your province or in the neighbouring one. For some processed foods like cheese or maple syrup, local may take on a larger geographical area than more commonly produced foods like vegetables.

Generally speaking, local food is grown no more than 100 miles or 170km from oneís home, has travelled directly from farm to place of sale, does not subscribe to political or geographical boundries, and supports a sustainable, local economy.