Friday, September 7, 2012

RFC Grand Opening & Our Food Supply

It has been a number of months since Real Food Connections opened up their larger grocery store on Hanwell road, but the time has finally come ... it is time to party! Come out this Saturday between noon and 7pm to their grand opening and meet the gang that put together your veggie & grocery boxes each week. You can also chat with some of the local suppliers, sample some food, listen to live music and win some awesome prizes!!!!

Full details can be found here

Now, before I finish the rest of this blog post I want to clear up something that a few people have asked me. Yes, I am VERY vocal in my support of RFC .. but I have absolutely NO financial interest in the company. On the contrary, I wish! :) I'm just a regular guy who is very passionate about real food, who happens to believe what RFC is doing aligns very closely with what I'd like to see the future look like.

Which brings me to the second point of this blog post, our food supply. This year has had its ups and down. On one side RFC has grown and it seems that new suppliers are coming online every week. It is great to see that we have such a lively economy and people are finding an outlet for their products. I'm not sure if it is just my friends have changed over the last couple years or not, but it also seems that everybody and their dog is participating in some sort of veggie box or grocery box program. I'm a big proponent of "voting with your dollar" so supporting local farmers is high on my list, but that is the subject of another blog post altogether (coming soon). Anyway, it seems that, at least in Fredericton and the surrounding area, we are heading on the right track.

However, as with everything, for every few steps forward, there is a step backwards. This summer was also marred by the presence of "Egg Gate 2012". Quick recap .. RFCs very popular egg program was shut down earlier this year when it was discovered (i.e. some cowardly soul reported them) that they were storing ungraded eggs in their fridge for pickup by customers who pre-purchased them from the farm (Hilltop Farms). The eggs were not being sold on their shelves, and everybody knew the eggs were ungraded and came from the farm, so there was no anonymity. Some people tried to frame it as a "health" issue, but that didn't add up since the farm could sell the eggs directly to the consumer if they had the means. No, the issue here was simply the storage .. some bureaucratic rule from another time .. meant to "protect us".

Yes folks, we live in an age and time where tomatoes grown in compost, and milk that hasn't been heated to within an inch of its life, is considered too dangerous to consume. Yet packaged goods with 30 ingredients, none of which you can pronounce, are perfectly legit.

I'm not sure about you, but that sort of pisses me off a bit. I'm sorry to Hilltop Farms that the program got closed down. I'm also sorry that they couldn't make a go of it afterward trying to sell the eggs from their truck outside RFC. This day and age people live hectic lives, and it is hard to find the time sometimes. This just highlights the need of what the original program did. But most of all, I'm sorry we let the issue die down without a fight. That is a mistake I plan to rectify, because I think the tipping point is coming and I know which side I want to be on. I plan to fight for real food, and my right to choose what I think is healthy. I don't plan to listen to "government experts", because most of them don't seem to know what the hell they are talking about.  If you support real food and feel the need to fight for it, let me know. When the time comes we'll need all the voices we can muster.

In the meantime, I plan on supporting businesses like RFC all I can. To me, Levi has proved that there is a demand for real, unprocessed food in this province, and there is enough to go around, so far. I think we will need more farmers as the demand grows. I also think the RFC model needs to be adopted elsewhere in this province. We have a very special province here, and we need to get back to basics and utilize the land we have in a sustainable manner. Right now NB seems to be doing two things well, IT startups and real food. We seem to be doing a good job of incubating small IT companies, I think maybe we need to start incubating real food based businesses.

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