Sunday October 11, 2015

Food Security: Is it better to 'eat local' or global?

(Olya Sanakoev/Flickr)

Listen 11:16

Thanks to the recent agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership, the issue of food security has made its way into the election campaign. Dairy and poultry producers were concerned that Canada's system of supply management would disappear under the new deal and they warned that if that system was lost, a big part of our food security would go with it.

As it turns out, supply management largely survived the seven years of negotiation over the TPP but beyond eggs, milk and cheese, Canadians are eating from an increasingly globalized menu. There's concern that our reliance on global food trade makes Canada's food system less secure. But not everyone studying food security shares that concern.

(The full interview is available in the audio player above. The following portions have been edited for clarity and length.)

Evan Fraser, Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security in the geography department at Guelph University, says true food security starts close to home.

There's a number of areas where I'm quite concerned... [including] the rise in food bank use as an indication of a deepening level of chronic food insecurity in urban areas, which is particularly acute in the Canadian far north. - Evan Fraser

But Pierre Desrochers, author of "The Locavore's Dilemma" and a geography professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga, says the only way to ensure food security is to increase international trade because it provides efficiency, variety and more choice of suppliers. 

Food is more abundant, cheaper and of better quality than it's ever been. Of course we still have problems, but I'd describe those as social issues. - Pierre Desrochers

Click the blue button above to listen to the full interview.