A Message from the National Farmers Union

Dianne Dowling is the president of NFU Local 316.

Greetings, eaters!

Welcome to Food Down the Road, the local food newspaper for Kingston and countryside. Local 316 of the National Farmers Union is pleased and proud to produce this newspaper, and we extend special thanks to the sponsors for their support.

Over a decade ago, our NFU local recognized the need to reach out beyond the farm-gate to involve eaters in farm and food issues, in order to affect farm and food policies and meet challenges. Some will remember the public forum on genetically modified foods, the successful letterwriting campaign and rally through downtown Kingston in support of farmers’ right to save their own seed and the Save Our Prison Farms campaign in response to various food and farm issues.  

On the proactive side, the NFU Feast of Fields events in 2004, 2005 and 2006 built awareness of local food by bringing together chefs and farmers, showcasing food from the region for 700 participants in each event. Moving forward from these successful events, we were ready to tackle the much bigger job of developing a more sustainable local food system for the area. In 2007, the NFU initiated Food Down the Road to begin that task, followed by the NFU New Farm Project (2008-2012), aimed at building farm capacity and farm community.
Meanwhile, other organizations active in developing local food capacity include: Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington Public Health, Urban Agriculture Kingston, and Local Food - Local Chefs.
The vision and energy of local farmers, processors, distributors and retailers, combined with the demand expressed by committed local-food eaters, has begun to create a growing and dynamic local food system.
Climate change, peak oil and uncertain global economic and political circumstances make it imperative for every community to increase its capacity to feed itself. A local food system cannot be built overnight, but by annually increasing the demand for and the supply of local food, we can build (or more accurately, re-build) our ability to grow, process, distribute and obtain food within our region.
We make many food choices every day, and every one of those decisions gives us an opportunity to build the local food system -- that is,

  • To choose an independent restaurant or grocery store with local food options, rather than supporting a large corporation with industrial-scale food.
  • To grow some of your own food, or buy it from your neighbour, rather than depending on food from thousands of kilometres away.
  • To savour and treasure local strawberries and tomatoes in season, and preserve them for the winter, rather than eating imported, road-weary produce in our cold months.
  • To help create jobs in our region, rather than contributing to profits in far-away places. Let’s get started on building food sovereignty for all.
  • To be able to ask the farmer questions about his/her practices, rather than wondering what practices were used for the long-distance food.
  • We truly have “people power” in our eating choices.

Thank you for seeking out and asking for locally-grown choices when you make food decisions. Your food choices do matter!
Dianne Dowling is a dairy farmer and the president of  National Farmers Union, Local 316 (Kingston and Frontenac and Lennox-Addington Counties).

Dianne Dowling is a dairy farmer and the president of  National Farmers Union, Local 316 (Kingston and Frontenac and Lennox-Addington Counties).

Print Volume 3


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