The most sobering fact I learned, and the one that stuck with me, from Edmonton-based Jennifer Cockrall-King’s book Food and the City is that grocery stores only hold three days worth of food supply. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, an oil and gas shortage, or a Canadian civil war, we may find ourselves very hungry, very quickly.
I have the great fortune to live in a city that, despite rather major drawbacks such as frigid winter weather, boasts 5 year-round farmer’s markets. That’s right, five! Edmonton has the good luck of being northerly enough that it gets extended sunshine hours in the spring, summer and early fall, and is also the bearer of kick-ass soil (as my laissez-faire garden can attest). In the winter, we have several excellent greenhouse producers who keep us in tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce. For cool, non-GMO food manipulation, check out Doef’s to see how they produce heart-shaped cucumbers.
Last week, I went to hear Raj Patel speak on Food Cultures for Sustainability. Patel is an engaging and passionate speaker. Between wrestling with Ladybug and spilling coffee all over myself, I was able to enjoy his entertaining anecdotes which drove home important points about the modern agricultural-industrial complex. I was also proud to be an Edmontonian when Patel complimented us on “fresh”, our urban food strategy, and joked that we were the only city in the world where you could purchase frozen vegetables at the farmer’s market.
As we settle into February and seed catalogues begin to appear in my mailbox, I find myself dreaming about the upcoming gardening season and all that it promises. Thoughts such as these, combined with my weekly trip to City Market, give me much to look forward to.