It’s Easier Than Ever to Buy Local: Carol Hughes, MP

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Carol Hughes, MP
Carol Hughes, MP

We are lucky to live where eating locally means eating well, and including local produce makes our meals as delicious as possible. Most people who take advantage of this option feel fortunate to do so.

Which is why this spring, parliament passed an NDP private member’s bill that recognizes the Friday before Thanksgiving every year as “National Local Food Day.” The benefits of celebrating local food are clear. It encourages us to support local businesses, reduce our carbon footprint and eat healthy delicious food.

There is already broad support for this idea, with over eighty percent of Canadians believing it is important to know where their food comes from, and many of them already make an effort to source their groceries locally. In the north, it is easier than ever to buy local as summer gets going and more fresh produce comes into season.

Roadside stands, seasonal food festivals, and weekend trips to farmer’s market are an enjoyable and convenient way to buy local. These allow you to interact directly with small growers and the businesspeople who produce your food. This gives the consumer insight into where your food comes from, how it is grown, and gets to market.

When you do this, you are contributing to your local economy and also building a community that supports its hardworking farmers and entrepreneurs.

Summer isn’t the only season in which buying local is an option. Instead of shopping at big box stores, many areas have grocery stores, butchers, and bakeries owned and operated by people in your community. For groceries, it’s easy to know the source of a product when you see the Foodland Ontario logo.

But local produce and fresh meat are just the beginning. Eggs, dairy, honey, maple syrup, handmade soap, as well as services, can all be purchased locally. The recent bloom of craft breweries in northern Ontario even makes it easier to cool off with a local beer.

Apart from supporting your regional economy, buying in your area is essential to creating a sustainable local food system. When food is produced close to where it is sold, pollution is reduced. As an added bonus, the closer your produce is produced to home, the fresher it will be.

Most importantly, buying local is an effective way to use your power as a consumer to support your community. It is one way we can protect ourselves from trade agreements (and disagreements) that threaten domestic agriculture and food production. When we support the hard work of local producers and harvesters, food manufacturers, farmers’ markets, and restauranteurs, we bolster economic growth in our part of the province and help protect good jobs for our area.

 

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Carol Hughes MP
Carol is a three-term MP who has worked hard for Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing since being elected in 2008. In addition to her role as MP, Carol serves as Assistant Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole in Canada’s 42nd Parliament. A tireless advocate for the communities she serves, Carol was a leading figure in the fight to preserve ten federal constituencies for Northern Ontario. She has been a prominent spokesperson for passenger rail service, preserving postal service outlets, and good jobs in the region. Carol has worked with First Nations on local and national issues and served as the New Democrat critic for First Nations Health prior to assuming the responsibilities of Assistant Deputy Speaker. With decades of labour experience, Carol understands the priorities of hardworking families. She has introduced legislation to expand access to Employment Insurance benefits and to require mandatory reporting of workplace accidents and occupational diseases. She has also worked with veterans on legislation that will create a Defence of Canada Medal to honour those who served domestically to protect Canada during the Cold War. Committed to serving all her constituents, Carol maintains full constituency offices in both Kapuskasing and Elliot Lake. She also holds regular clinics in communities throughout the riding. Before entering politics, Carol was a regional representative for the Canadian Labour Congress. Earlier, she worked for Probation and Parole Services in Elliot Lake and Youth Justice Services in Sudbury. A long-time community volunteer and activist, Carol lived in Elliot Lake for nearly three decades with her husband Kieth. And as a proud mother and grandmother, Carol is committed to building a better Canada for future generations.

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