What approach do you take when you go to the grocery store? Is it a panicked “Oh no the fridge is completely empty and I can’t eat eggs and cereal for dinner again!” or is it a “I have some time, let me leisurely grocery shop and pick out really healthy items around the perimeter of the grocery store and then leave.” Just kidding, no one has time for that. What if in the short time you are at the grocery store, you could buy fresh food, save money and support the farmers that grow our food? It’s not too good to be true.

What comes to mind when you hear the term local? Farmers? Weekend outdoor markets, expensive fruit?  Local food is available at the grocery stores you usually shop at – just look for the green Foodland Ontario symbol. You may be surprised that you’re buying local more often than you think.

A fairly newly emerged term that has been floating around is the word LOCA-vore. Named the 2007 “word of the year” by Oxford Dictionary, this describes an individual that primarily eats local or regional food whenever possible (usually within 100 miles). By eating locally, individuals are able to create a better connection between themselves and their food sources. Here are some tips/ideas of eating more like a “locavore”:

  • Local food has variety: Ontario produces over 50 different vegetables and fruit as well as all beef, veal, pork, lamb, poultry, varieties of fish, eggs, legumes, cheese, milk, honey, wine and maple syrup1. Be adventurous and try incorporating something new in your meals. Check out Foodland Ontario’s availability guide to see what is available year-round. You’ll be pleasantly surprised, I promise.
  • Local food is fresh: The closer food is produced to home, the fresher and, thus tastier it will be. Did you know, the eggs from the grocery store often take less than a week to travel from the farm where they were hatched1?Produce at farmer’s markets may even be sold a day after it’s been harvested2!
  • Buying local saves money: Buying produce from a local farm or farmer’s market or grocery store can be budget friendly as they are in season and in abundance2!
  • Buying local supports our farmers: When you choose to buy these products, you are supporting the local economy and also the farmers that produced it1,2. While it’s true that vegetables and fruit are seasonal, you can see from the Ottawa Farmer’s market availability guide that lots are also available all year round. Bonus: if you are shopping at farmer’s markets, you can get great ideas as to how prepare and eat the food. They know their food best.
  • Buying local preserves our farms: This goes hand in hand with supporting our farmers because it will help to preserve the farmland so that we can continue to reap the benefits of local food1.

There are so many benefits to buying local food – so go loco!

At Carleton we do our best to support our local farmers. Many of the ingredients we use in the campus cafeterias are locally sourced such as our meats, gluten-free pastries, produce and cheeses.

Here are a few examples of the dishes we have featured with local ingredients in the past:

  • Eggplant parmesan with Fire Roasted Tomatoes
  • Turkey lollipops with sweet potato puree served with a light cranberry glaze
  • Roasted pork served with braised purple cabbage and potato dumplings
  • Lentil du puy moussaka served with tri pepper coulis
  • And in case you have room for dessert…
    • Maple cheesecake lollipops dipped in chocolate fondue
    • Apple strudel stuffed with pastry cream served with maple crème anglaise
    • Cannelloni stuffed with pear vanilla cream served with a raspberry coulis

Mouth watering yet? … Come by and check us out! We continuously provide recipes, demos, nutritionals, and fun tips at each station so you can recreate our amazing dishes at home!

Jane Skapinker

Registered Dietitian


  1. Dietitians of Canada. Benefits of buying local food. In Eat right Ontario. Retrieved from https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Farming/Food-production/Benefits-of-buying-local-food.aspx
  2. McKechnie, B. (2015). 5 ways to save money on fruits and vegetables. In Global news. Retrieved from http://globalnews.ca/news/1889646/5-ways-to-save-money-on-fruits-and-vegetables/

Monday, October 30, 2017 in ,
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