Local Food at Grocery Giants


Co-opting “local”

These mini cucumbers on display at a Safeway store in Nelson, British Columbia were grown in Alberta (not in British Columbia)

[Source: Jon Steinman, Nelson, BC, September 20, 2018]

If it’s available, and genuinely ‘local’, many eaters will find comfort purchasing local food at a grocery giant. But this well-intentioned gesture isn’t so black and white. It’s important to remind each other of the additional investments we’re inadvertently making when sourcing local foods from a chain retailer.

When we purchase local food from a grocery giant, we’re also investing in that chain’s other behaviors and practices. Those may include the disingenuous marketing of “local” food, the mistreatment of foodmakers, the proliferation of food waste, or the extraction of wealth out of communities. For every dollar spent on local food at a chain, a portion of that dollar is inescapably funding the undermining of communities and local food systems.

Jon Steinman