Farmers' markets help ease Northerners' food bills
Residents in Ontario's far north turn to shipping in food themselves to avoid high prices at local stores
Posted: Jun 13, 2012 11:27 AM ET
Last Updated: Jun 13, 2012 11:05 AM ET
People who live in Ontario's far north are trying different ways to help defray the high price tag that comes with shopping for food.
The folks in Fort Albany, located 500 kilometres north of Timmins, have started local food initiatives, including a farmer's market, to help counter food costs.
Gigi Veeraraghavan, who helped found the community's Food Security Committee, said the food they ship in themselves is more affordable than the food made available to them at the local Northern store.
For example, a three-pound bag of apples was sold at the market for $2, while the same bag cost $10 to $13 at the store.
“I think the increase in popularity of our market is a form of activism,” Veeraraghavan said. “It's extremely busy. I'll say the food is gone within 15 minutes. I see the rewards in my home. I'm able to feed my children in a way that I wasn't able to before.”
Veeraraghavan said the community is using Facebook to closely follow the Nunavut food protests.
“I would love to see these kinds of protests around the Northern store to really bring it home that the service that we're getting is not good enough for our needs anymore.”
The high cost of food has forced one couple to move from the far north to St. Joe's Island, near Sault Ste. Marie.
Bill Riddell and his wife lived in Iqaluit for 30 years, but could no longer afford to buy the food there — like a jug of milk that sold for $14.
“Very seldom did we ever get out of any grocery store for less than $400,” Riddell recalled about what he paid for a week of groceries in Nunavut.
When Riddell and his wife shop now, the bill is much different.
“The last time we went to a supermarket, we bought everything we wanted to buy [and the bill] was about $160.”
Riddell said additional taxes on cargo and fuel added 30 per cent more to his bill.
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