Summer has officially arrived in Canada. With it, we get to enjoy the return of a popular warm-weather activity: farmers’ markets, here’s How To Shop Animal-Friendly At A Farmers’ Market!
Why do we love farmers’ markets so much? They’re a fantastic way to reduce plastic waste, eat local, be more animal-friendly and directly connect us with the people who devote their lives and livelihoods to producing our food.
It’s a colourful and fun reminder that beautifully grown food is something to celebrate!
For many of us, our relationship to where and how our food is produced is becoming ever-more distant and with our busy lives, it can be easier not to think about it. The last few decades have ushered in one of the most significant industrial changes in the history of Canada but most of us didn’t notice. Since 1956, the number of farms in Canada has decreased by over 60% while the average farm size has increased by 141%. Around
700 million animals are now raised for food every year in Canada – that’s 21 times greater than the human population.
The vanishing of the small family farms and the surge of large factory farms have produced cheaper and cheaper meat and dairy but the cost to animals, our health, rural communities, and the environment is something we can’t afford to ignore.
Shopping at farmers’ markets is a great way to feel connected to your community and provide wholesome food for your family. If your family eats meat and dairy, buying from smaller humane farms is a great way to show support for better animal welfare. It can be hard to know what to ask the farmers at the market to make sure the meat and dairy you’re buying is aligned with your beliefs.
Here are some tips on what to ask on your next trip to the market:
1) Do the animals have space to move around or are they kept in cages, crates or crowded barns?
2) Do the animals have access to the outdoors, weather permitting?
3) Are the animals housed in social groups where they can interact freely?
4) Do the barns have natural ventilation and natural light?
5) Where is the farm located and how far are the animals transported to slaughter?
The farmers should be able to answer all of these questions and any more you might have.
Your grocer and butcher too should be able to tell you where their meat and dairy are sourced from.
You can use the handy GUIDE developed by World Animal Protection to understand what the most common labels (like organic or free-range) mean to the lives of animals. We believe that humane animal farming is better for everyone: animals, people, and the planet. Animals live longer, healthier and more active lives. And farmers can earn more too. Whether at the farmers’ market or your favourite grocery store, you have the purchasing power to help animals and the planet by eating higher welfare and less meat, eggs, and dairy overall. Doing so supports higher welfare farming and reduces demand for factory-farmed meat.
And of course, ditch the plastic bags by bringing your own fabric bags to celebrate Plastic Free July with Candice and The Eco Hub!