“I want to leave a legacy,” he said, the slight catch in his throat belying the full impact of his statement as we casually chit-chatted about farming and local sources for fresh produce. “If it was just me, I wouldn’t care so much,” he continued. “But the next generation deserves to be able to farm, too.”

Last night I attended a screening for the movie, “Fresh, New Thinking about What We Eat” at the Crossland Church Theatre in Newmarket (Ontario, Canada) and hosted by the York Region Food Network. Part promotion for the movie and part education about how our food is produced today, the evening also offered an opportunity to discuss current issues and the impact on the average family in York Region. It was fascinating.

Fresh is the documentary film produced and directed by Sofia (Ana) Joanes, celebrating farmers, business people and scholars across America who are re-thinking, and in some cases, retooling the food system. As the film unfolds, we meet a cross-section of farmers farming the “traditional” way, with large business controlling the output from the seeds planted in the fields to what ends up on our forks, and “new” methods of farming, which is really nothing new but what a family farm would’ve looked like fifty years ago; a mix of livestock and crops all working together to create a harmonious balance that even Mother Nature would approve of and the genesis behind the “organic” phenomenon. Fresh food – what a concept!

 We know, we’re busy. Eating on the fly is the norm, with dinner preparation relegated to the 30-minute miracle or break out the take-out menus! Nutrition? Who cares. Reading labels? Why bother, poly this or saturated that having no real meaning to the average shopper, with fructose the boogy-man ingredient, but kinda sounds like “fruit” so can it really be that bad for you? Yes.

But if eating food is a basic human requirement then how come it’s become so complicated and expensive? The York Region Food Network, which raises awareness about hunger in York Region and works to increase access to healthy food choices through advocating policy changes, has two farm-based and fresh food initiatives that could make a huge difference to both your wallet and your health.

“Guide to Fresh Food, from farm to table in York Region” is a road map to locally grown and available fresh food sources. Originally designed to meet the growing Chinese and South Asian populous, this guide is for anyone who wants to shop locally and support our farming neighbours by buying directly from trusted resources.

And coming in January 2011, the Good Food Box program will provide an opportunity for you to order fresh produce for about $10 - $15 once a month. For information on either program, food banks, or the community garden, visit the York Region Food Network’s website at www.yrfn.ca.

“I like the part in the movie about if we all spent $10 per week buying locally – what a huge impact that could mean to farmers and their ability to keep farming,” said an audience member, in our discussion period after the movie. Me too. And what a legacy that would mean for our own families. Fresh. What a concept.

If you would like to learn more about Fresh the movie, go to www.FRESHthemovie.com

About the author: Trish King is a freelance writer and marketing consultant currently working in the food industry, focussing on food safety. Trish can be found at www.globalfoodafetyresource.com and www.trishking.com, or email her at info@trishking.com

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