"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau




Looney Food Sense

By Jack Heppner

So the looney has dipped below seventy cents in relation to the American dollar. Of course that means that all the fruits and vegetables we buy in our grocery stores coming from the USA are becoming more expensive. What is a sensible response to this new reality?

For those of us who have more than enough resources at hand it might simply mean gritting our teeth and shelling out those extra bucks to keep fresh California fruits and veggies coming our way.

For the rest of us who have to watch our grocery budgets carefully our response is not quite so simple. The most likely reaction will be simply to buy fewer fruits and vegetables, and in the process compromise the nutritional quality of the food we consume. The problem, of course, is that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is indispensable for vibrant health. So this scenario is indeed bad news for us and our families.

But there is a way of turning bad news into good news, although most likely that will take some time and effort on our part. Simply put, we can perform this alchemy by transitioning to sourcing our fruits and vegetables locally, right here in Southeastern Manitoba. Eating local produce as much as possible is something we have been promoting in this column for many years. Perhaps the low looney will be enough to get a few more of our readers to take such action for the first time.

There are at least three things that you can do to mitigate the negative effects of a devalued looney.

First, I recommend that you get serious about growing more fruits and vegetables right here in our communities. Usually the first response is that I don’t have a garden. Well, you really don’t need a lot of space to develop a garden that will produce abundantly. A few raised beds can fill your freezer with a winter’s worth of healthy veggies. And if you are more serious about it, there are garden plots you can rent in and around our cities and towns where you can grow even more food. Of course that will mean that you will need to get involved in freezing, fermenting, drying or canning the harvest. Your parents and grandparents did it. Why should you be exempt?

If this doesn’t work for you, make an effort to purchase your vegetables from local market gardeners. You don’t have to look far to find them, and the produce they offer you is second to none, especially when it is grown organically.

And thirdly, participate with Steinbach and Area Fruit Share. Cash in on a lot of local fruit that simply goes to waste because no one wants it. Again it will mean preserving it for use in the winter, but especially when done together with others this can be an enjoyable and fulfilling activity.

The good news is that our low looney might bring some common sense to our food choices.

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