Serena Caner, registered dietician

Column: Make informed food choices

I don’t think chicken was on anybody’s menu last week– especially in Chilliwack.

While the individual workers were blamed for their “sadistic” behaviour, could the problem be deeper?

Could it be that when we delegate a terrible task to people to perform over and over, they become desensitized? Could it be that we demand cheap food and yet are still horrified when we find out the animals did not live a happy life? The reality is our current globalized agri-food system is damaging livelihoods, communities, and the environment. Our chickens (and cows, pigs, bananas…) have become anonymous and we no longer know where or how they were raised.

Halfway through my university training, UBC’s dietetic program shifted its lens and rebranded itself with a new focus: Land, Food and Community. Up to that point, the coursework had been in the sciences – biology, physiology, the dreaded biochemistry (taken twice). Suddenly, I was transported to a learning environment where the professors called themselves facilitators, and didn’t lecture so much as inspire conversation on pressing issues in our food system: sustainability, food literacy, food security, food sovereignty.

Their message was urgent: if we want to maintain our rights to choose the kind of food we want to eat, we need to rethink our food system, because our current food supply is being controlled by fewer and fewer large, multinational companies.

On Sunday, June 25, we all have a chance to make more informed choices about the food we consume. From Sorrento to Armstrong, 14 local farms are extending an invitation to the free “Visit a Farm” event.

Producers of meat, fruit, vegetables, grain, wine and beer will be opening their gates from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and welcoming visitors to find out about their operations and purchase their products.

Maps and full details of the event can be found at www.shuswapfood.ca or at Askews Foods.

Take a drive and find out about all the humanely-raised foods grown and produced in our own community.