5 Easy Ways to be a Responsible Canadian ConsumerJanuary 10, 2022
Here are 5 easy ways to help you to become a more responsible consumer as an urban Canadian.
By Marina de Pina-Jenkins
Creating a positive impact in our communities becomes a habit that is a pleasure to maintain and not a challenge as many people seem to think. It can be very fulfilling to live in a way that uplifts our communities, connects us to the land and brings health to ourselves and others. Food choices are one of the most important ways we can make a positive change in our ecological impact because it is usually one of the greatest sources of emissions in our country (including land use, water use and waste). Here are 5 easy ways to help you to become a more responsible consumer as an urban Canadian.
1. Buy Small Scale Local
Buying local is less about the carbon emissions from transportation as some people may think and more about bringing economic sustainability to our communities. Local businesses are more likely to donate to local causes, employ local people, shop and give their business to other local businesses and more. The manner in which food is produced has a way larger impact than how far it travels, so if you have the option, try to choose organic or regenerative farming (even if it’s imported from abroad) than conventional industrially produced foods made locally. The best food options to support are small scale, local farmers using organic or regenerative farming practices.
2. Buy Direct From Farmers
For urban Canadians, this is a great way to support local agriculture systems that don’t get enough support from government funding. If it’s in your means some options include a farmers market, purchase from a co-op or consider joining a CSA program this year. A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a food distribution system that enables food lovers to support local agriculture, give farmers job security, take care of the environment and guarantee themselves a share of fresh, healthy local produce at a fair price.
3. Grow Your Own Food
The energy it takes to grow a single tomato is honestly astounding if you’ve never done it before. Growing your own food often leads to an immense change in perspective, values and ideas. There are almost too many benefits to mention here so I will list a few; being connected with the earth, the contact between our hands and soil increases our immune system health, the satisfaction of caring for something other than yourself, are just a few. Start with local herbs on your window sill, or a patio or if you rent, ask if you can grow from containers in the yard or outdoor space of your building.
4. Reduce Overconsumption
Seeking out locally seasonal foods (i.e. produced in the natural production season and consumed within the same climatic zone) does have ecological, economic and environmental benefits, however it should not take priority over habits that could have greater environmental and health benefits to our society such as reducing waste. Overconsumption leads to more food waste, more
5. Donate If You Aren’t Ready To Change Your Habits
If you can afford the time or finances, volunteering or donating is a seriously impactful way to be a responsible member of our community. If you aren’t quite ready to take the leap on changing your habits, or perhaps you’ve done all of the above, please consider supporting a charity that works on food security, urban gardening or perhaps a community garden project.
Macdiarmid, J. (2014). Seasonality and dietary requirements: Will eating seasonal food contribute to health and environmental sustainability? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 73(3), 368-375. doi:10.1017/S0029665113003753