When Loblaws pulled French's ketchup off the shelves they had no idea of the consequences. It unleashed a dormant nationalism towards food products and support of local economies.

Canadian consumers on social media forced the grocery giant to give the underdog brand — made from Ontario tomatoes — a second chance. Within 24 hours of announcing it would pull the condiment from shelves, the public outcry prompted Loblaws to reverse course. 

How important is it for Canada to produce its own food?

Readers let us know in Sunday's CBC Forum — a live, hosted discussion about topics of national interest. CBC Radio One's Cross Country Checkup also dealt with the same topic.

Here's a look at some of what they had to say.

(Please note that user names are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the user name to see the comment in the blog format.)

Several readers suggested there were reasons to temper calls for a big swing toward localized food.

"Locally produced food is desirable, but it is not possible for every country to be self-sufficient in food production. Even the United States, with more favourable growing conditions, is not self-sufficient." — GH1618

​"In Canada there is a short growing season, beginning around the May long weekend and ending in early October. During the winter we can grow no vegetables or fruit. So we would be stuck with those things that keep well, such as potatoes, and those things we are able to can or preserve in some other way ... Also, I happen to like avocados and bananas and that means importing them year-round because we cannot grow them at all here." — Inconceivable

​Some said food self-sufficiency was a necessary ingredient in sovereignty.

"Food security used to be considered part of national security. A country which has to rely on others to feed the population [is] not truly sovereign. This is not to say we can't import some foods which we are not capable of growing, but we should never rely on having to import." — Noone

"Food security means sovereignty. Food security means local jobs. Food security means farmland stays farmland and not box stores and subdivisions. Food security means family farms flourish. We Canadians need our own safe, healthy food supply. What we don't need are foreign trade deals that destabilize Canadian food supply in the name of corporate profiteering." — north shore boy

Several people said they wished labelling made the country of origin more obvious.

"Through the winter I will buy Canadian cabbages, rutabagas, etc. I buy very little 'foreign' produce. For some other products — such as jam, ketchup, etc. — I will often buy Canadian if I can determine where the ingredients come from. It would be helpful if stores could more clearly identify country of origin so we can make informed choices." — EOttawa

And although people differed on the details, the vast majority of forum users were strongly in favour of making Canada's food as local and as self-sufficient as possible.

"Every cooking show, my mother, my grandmother, everybody it seems, has been and is telling us to eat locally ... But why are our supermarkets full of U.S.A. and Mexico produce all year? It seems a no-brainer, ripe food trucked in from 100 kilometres versus picked green and trucked in from thousands of kilometres. Yet somehow it isn't working to the advantage of Canadian producers." — Allen

"So glad to see this issue get some attention, and am eagerly awaiting people to make the connection between ketchup and Canada's threatened dairy industry. The TPP deal threatens to undermine/destroy the economic basis of thousands of successful, small-scale family farms by welcoming imports of room-temperature milk from hormone-soaked factory farms on the other side of the world. It's a disgrace. Supply management assures a good living for farmers and safe, high quality food for consumers at a very reasonable (internationally competitive) price." — John Barber

You can read the complete discussion, including comments from Sunday's Cross Country Checkup, below.

Can't see the forum? Click here.

With files from Cross Country Checkup and CBC's Sheena Goodyear