The local food movement is blooming across North America. The simple approach of sourcing food closer to home has united environmentalists, health advocates, chefs and farmers alike, all under a common banner to revolutionize our food system.
The momentum of this progressive movement is now crashing into a political climate of uncertainty. The election of Donald Trump to the US presidency has cast doubt deep into the North American food sector, which has typically relied on the flow of people and goods across borders.
In this time of political turmoil, two young entrepreneurs will be driving from Mexico to Canada, to explore how the local food movement ties us together.
In a series of videos they call “The Food Less Traveled,” Ricardo Martinez and Caroline Kamm will be giving a voice to the people who feed us. As they road trip from Monterrey to Toronto, the duo will be interviewing the heroes of our local food systems, to get their take on the current vulnerabilities that so many farmers face.
“People in the food business are scared,” says Caroline, about the current political climate. “So much of our food relies on this open market that we have, and if President Trump goes through with restricting imports, a lot of people will be hurting. We are looking at rising food prices and a lot of farmers who will have to find new places to sell their food.”
Ricardo and Caroline see the local food movement as an amazing source of answers. These are farmers, community organizers and businesses that have decided to cut out the whole idea of international trade to create new, community-based food systems. Before Trump started bashing our current system of trade, this movement was already going local for the sake of their livelihoods, the health of consumers, the quality of their food and the environment.
This isn’t the team’s first project in local food. Ricardo and Caroline co-founded the Fresh Data Network in Mexico last year, to develop an app for consumers to find local produce. Now that they have launched the app, they are looking to expand its reach.
Ricardo, who grew up in Mexico before working and studying abroad, sees this as the perfect time for Mexicans to focus on local food. “It’s time to see the Trump presidency as an opportunity for Mexicans to develop local food networks, instead of focusing on all of the negatives. Mexico produces the best and most diverse food in the world, and the highest quality food should be staying here. We export 85 per cent of our organic produce and that has to change.”
The duo will embark on their 2400-mile journey this summer. They will be sharing every step of the way, including the months leading up, on their website and on social media. Their videos will be a mix of visits with farmers and other food businesses, adventures in small-town North America, and whatever mishaps come their way.
“We want our videos to be well researched, but still accessible to a wider public,” says Caroline. “Our goal is to cut through the buzzwords and technical talk as much as possible, so that we can engage a really wide public. We want to get new audiences – particularly young people – interested in the production and consumption of local, healthy food.”