Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Healthy meat no longer available...???

My heart is sick today. I feel like I want to scream and rant and jump up and down and hit something really hard. I don't feel like this very often. A friend just shared with me that the place where we have been purchasing our meat for the last 4 years is closing down as of this Saturday. It's not that it is just another company closing down - it is what this represents to me that upsets me. This store was so busy that we would purposely come on weekdays so that we could find a parking spot. The owners were always ready with a cheerful smile and welcoming arms. Business was good. It was even great. It was not a lack of business that closed these doors. It was not a complaint from one of their customers. It was one thing only. The government wanted them gone and now the "forces that be" have succeeded. A year ago Franz (the owner) told us that this was so and I posted something about it on my Facebook account. That's it. That's all I did. I think I didn't want to believe it was that eminent even though he told me it was - couldn't I have done more? Would it have made a difference? The Food Inspector had been there that day and had given him yet another new rule that they needed to yield to - one after another, I don't know a lot of the details right now (we plan to go out to get our 'last' load on Thursday). A quote from another helpful blog puts it this way, "our government regulations have become so blind, restrictive,obscure and expensive that they felt closing was the only option."http://niagaracooks.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-defence-of-local-food.html I like the way my dh put it to the kids tonight at the dinner table. These big farms that are infiltrating our country are like small cities - so large with so many animals all packed in like sardines. Because of this the animals get sick very easily and because of that government has needed to put lots of rules in to place - to keep disease from spreading in environments like that. These rules are impossible and even unnecessary for owners of small farms to afford to follow and so they are closing down. I have even heard that the gov't is pushing for all of these farms to be closed by December of 2010. Unbelievable?? That's what I thought until today...believe me I did not believe this day would come...
What about the meat for my children? What about the meat for their children? What about these farmers and retailers that try to sell their food? What is going on in our country?
Sorry to be such a wet blanket today. I just had to rant.
Please, if you have any other ideas or links, share here cause I am up for a fight!


  1. That's too bad and odd that they'd need to shut down. There are countless small and/or organic butchers here in Toronto that don't seem to have a problem. One that sprung up just up the street called Rowe Farms is doing really well. Their shops are as clean as any you'd find in any large grocery store as if they were preparing for an unannounced visit from the health inspector at anytime. Even the large Mennonite market in Kitchener seems to be thriving. There could have been a particular issue with that market, but I'm sure that's no consolation as I'd be pretty upset if the only good butcher in my neighbourhood shut down. It's hard to believe that the government would close all independent butchers because if they were to there would be a massive uproar. The liberals announced a "home-grown policy that will help environment, families and farmers" the other day you might find interesting. Of course the NDP and Greens tend to be friendly toward local food ops as well. :) Here's some links...



  2. You have me thinking Sarah! For me, I've considered going vegetarian for a long time. You know how they say, "You vote with your dollar", hmmm. Now may be a good time to say goodbye to meat.

    I recently met, on my quest for local free range eggs, a mennonite farmer in Campden who also sells drug-free beef and chicken. If you want his number, just ask.

    ((hugs)) Mel

  3. Thanks for those links Jon. I will be following that and I hope it isn't just about politics and trying to make it 'sound' like they are helping, when the changes that really need to be made are left the same. I worry about the small local farmers - It is unclear to me whether Ifnatieff is referring also to the small farmers and not only the large corporate farms. I found this article that talks of the demise of the local farms (I know - it's old 2008 - but still very applicable!!)http://www.hans.org/magazine/402/Canadas-Agricultural-Crisis.html I wonder how long Rowe farms etc. will be around too. One of the main concerns for my butcher (The Good Shepherd) was the fact that he was having a hard time getting suppliers a year ago - there weren't as many farms around for him to pull from - so I wonder what he will have to say about that tomorrow when we see him. I will post again then.

  4. It's a given that its never clear what politicians are doing only for political points. But a recognition of the "farming crisis" is encouraging I'd say and an announcement like this gives voters something to hold them accountable to.

    Politicians ideally respond to what they see as a demand in their local ridings. Your MP Malcolm Allen seems great on the food topic. He gave an interesting speech in Parliament regarding the G8 meeting. Basically saying that we should promote local, small-scale farmers here at home and in the developing world.

    "... concerned citizens brought thousands of hand-signed cards to my office asking that Canada speak up for small-scale farmers, sustainable agriculture and local food production at the upcoming G8 meeting in June 2010.

    Canada needs agricultural and trade policies that support people’s access to safe, healthy, and environmentally sustainable food. As my constituents have reminded us, that commitment should include people in the developing world."

    If the thousands of hand-signed cards are any indication there is certainly a concern in your area and a responsive representative, so keep up the fight and I'm sure your local farm ops will thrive. His News section is full of announcements regarding local food and food safety so following up with him and he should take your concerns to a national level.

    If the good shepherd was as busy as you say they simply may have had a poor business model because any business owner will tell you that it can be tough to meet increased demand and can often be a hinderance rather than a assistance if they're ill-equiped. Local, small farm food tends to be more expensive because of the smaller scale production lack of high-tech / high-efficiency equipment. So when keeping costs down is a primary concern that the fact that they are held to the same health and safety standards as other larger food sellers I'd imagine is pretty tough. But I think its definitely a positive that they are held to the same safety standards and there are likely lots of creative solutions for the government to help offset that added costs. Those policies may not exist today but hopefully they will someday soon.

    From what you say it may have been a combined problem of costs and lack of supply to meet the demand. But if you keep the consumer demand going, eventually (provided there's government policy to nurture it ) the supply will meet it.