Up until recently – at least for the food stores referenced in this CBCNews article by Alison Crawford – you could buy a jar of store brand pickles made in Indonesia but you could not buy locally farmed meat. I have nothing against Indonesian pickles or the people who produce them but something sure seems off kilter when corporate policy dictates that a food store cannot sell from local production.
Some stores have broken off from Soebys, the parent company, and have formed the independent Hometown Growers Co-Op to free them from these restrictions.
Canadians are increasingly subscribing to the “buy local” and “100 mile diet” philosophies due to concerns over imported food, Kropf adds. “The pressure was always mounting — the more recalls, the more bad press from China or wherever the product was coming from. I know that in our case, our private label pickles are made in Indonesia. I couldn’t believe that.” As a franchisee for a large grocery chain, Kropf says, corporate policies stipulating that he only buy federally inspected meat prevented him from stocking local products. Most federally inspected meat in Canada comes from large corporations such as Maple Leaf, Cargill and Tyson.
“Most of our beef was Alberta beef. Chicken and pork could be U.S., so to me, that was a concern that, you know, we’ve got all these farmers in our back yard,” Kropf says.
Mmmm. “all these farmers in our back yard,” Kropf says. So what is it about the owners and decision makers of the parent company (however high that goes) that they would arrange such a situation? Only some unholy mix of government policy and business manipulation all wrapped up in Free Trade and delivered with a Corporate Globalism singsong mantra could possibly lead to such a bizarre scenario.
Could this be an example of Forced Trade?
Whatever the accumulated reasons, I see the creation of the Hometown Grocers Co-Op as a shot across the bow of Big Food and the Neo -Liberal government mind set that buys into the Corporate agenda of Free Trade/Globalism without realizing – or realizing all too well – that Corporate Globalism and Peoples Globalism are often two very different and opposing forces.
I hope that the people living in those areas will support the Hometown Grocers Co-Op .