Thursday night. A sharp rap on my door signifies the delivery of a week’s worth of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk, and eggs from Fresh City Farms in Toronto. It feels like Christmas as I pop open the lid of an old wooden wine box to find a new selection of fruits and vegetables – many in-season and locally sourced; some even coming from rooftop gardens in Toronto. Last week, I received fresh basil, Swiss chard, celeriac, and fennel, amongst other items. Thursdays are quickly becoming my favourite day of the week.
After reading Consumed: Sustainable Food for a Finite Planet by Sarah Elton, my appreciation for my weekly fruit and vegetable box from Fresh City Farms has grown significantly. Elton describes Fresh City Farms as an important player in the new peasant movement: people who produce food on their own land and sell it however they choose.
Divided into three parts and a conclusion (each part focusing on a ten-year target to help change the way humans interact with and produce their food), Consumed makes the case for sustainable food systems. This book is extremely well-researched and packed full of information that we all should know about our food – information that might even change some of your day-to-day decisions.
The information Elton provides is at times grim. For example, by 2050, Elton writes, “the human environmental debt will come knocking at our door,” with the global climate shifting, impacting the productivity of crops. Yet, in the face of seemingly dire circumstances, Elton remains positive, stating that it is not too late to change our food habits – that, if we work at it, we can create a future of food that is not so bleak. This optimistic, hopeful viewpoint is refreshing and makes this an empowering book to read.
What I most liked about Consumed, though, is the way that Elton puts a face to the sustainable food movement by speaking with farmers that are in the thick of it – integral players in the sustainable food movement from across the globe. Elton takes readers from India, to China, to Ontario. As a result of this journey, Consumed feels profoundly personal.
So, Savvy Readers, as we roll into farmer’s market season here in Canada, it is the perfect time to pick up Consumed and to start thinking about how our everyday food choices can have a huge impact on the planet.
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