James Bay Market: Where Does It Come From? Knowing the Food We Eat
By Jessica Duncan
About 40 years ago, as a hip young teen, I decided to go vegetarian. It was probably due to the fact that my dear mother unintentionally tried to poison the family every time she cooked meat, but my public line was that I loathed the meat industry and how the animals were treated. I had a rural upbringing and would die a little heartbroken death every time I passed an industrial cattle ranch. Everything about it seemed wrong. Flash forward 37 years, and I’m dealing with low iron levels when I realize that I would actually benefit from introducing small amounts of red meat into my diet. Unfortunately, those images of inhumane meat factories still haunt me, so I had to locate an ethical source before I could finally enjoy a long overdue burger. Lucky for me, I attend James Bay Community Market every Saturday, where I can purchase, guilt-free, locally and lovingly reared beef from Lynn of Boughneath Farm based in North Saanich.
One of the joys of rural life is that fresh, seasonal produce is readily available. Growing up in Sonoma County, virtually all of our groceries came from family-run farm stores selling all of the locally grown wonders that Northern California has to offer. What I didn’t realize back then was that all of those beautiful fruits and vegetables had been sprayed with DDT. Worse yet, the migrant workers who worked relentlessly under the hot California sun to ensure our plates were always full were also sprayed as they slaved, tending and harvesting the crops. If I had been aware of that at the time, I probably would have starved to death, boycotting both meat and produce. I believe the DDT planes have long been grounded, but migrant workers are still often ill-treated in the food industry. Lucky for me, I can purchase, guilt-free, fresh local, seasonal produce directly from the wonderful farmers at the Saturday market.
My fretting does not end with food. Every time I purchase something mass produced from a large chain, I worry that is was manufactured by workers in some far off country where poor working conditions go undetected by us. Luckily for me, the James Bay Community Market has so many wonderful things to offer, both useful and decorative, all made by the person on the other side of the table, not the other side of the world.
As you can see, I’m a worrier. So, of course I tie myself in knots whenever I think about the far too many people who simply cannot afford to feed their families healthy, fresh food. These numbers are growing by the day, and we are at risk of an increasingly under-nourished population. Fortunately for those British Columbians who are struggling financially, the BC Association of Farmers Markets offers a coupon program to help defray the costs of eating fresh produce when they shop at their local farmers’ market. The BC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Coupon Program is alive and well in our James Bay community. This wonderful program is partially funded by the government and enhanced with local donations. For more information on how to help your less fortunate neighbours enjoy the produce of the James Bay Community Market visit the website at www.bcfarmersmarket.cor/donate.
Do you know where your food comes from? When you buy directly from the farmer or baker or artisan at the James Bay Community Market, you never need to worry about the source or origin of your purchases. Whether you’re a worrier like I am, or you just enjoy fresh, locally produced food, or are hunting for a unique gift, or just love the farmers’ market vibe, your wait is almost over.
Join us once again at the James Bay Community Market at the corner of Superior and Menzies, every Saturday 9am-3pm starting on May 5, 9am to 3pm. Prepare yourself for a summer of delicious food, great music, beautiful art and a thriving community. See you there!