Friday, September 4, 2009

Eat local...Pepsi? The travesty that is "Eat Atlantic"

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays! Hosted by Food Renegade... Go on over and check out the awesome posts on Real Food :)

Greenwashing. For ecoholics and the environmentally inclined this is not a new word. It even has a wiki entry (did you know it was a "portmanteau" of green and whitewash and originally was coined for the hotel industry?). Corporations everywhere are scrambling to "spin" their product as somehow environmentally friendly, forcing the consumer to be even more wary. SIGG's recent bottle-liner manipulation is a nice example.

Wouldn't you know it, no eco-words are sacred and enter.... local washing. Unfortunately this term does not have it's own wiki entry. Perhaps Crunchy Chicken gets dibs on coining this one? In any case, it would seem that the term "local" has caught on and big corporations are feeling a little nervous. Crunchy's example was of Starbucks revamping their cafes to look "indie" and claiming to be local, as in the company originated in Seattle.

Cue Eat Atlantic Challenge, an exciting and promising event where maritimers (New Brunswickers, Nova Scotians and PEI-ians...ians?) are encouraged to eat only local foods today. Ok, so it's only one day, but the key is the promotion surrounding this event in provinces that have historically been UBER conservative. According to their website, Eat Atlantic: "The Eat Atlantic Challenge is a promotion aimed at encouraging Atlantic Canadians to eat only food produced in Atlantic Canada for one day..." Sounds good so far! Yay Farmer's markets, local bakeries, locally brewed beer, local pepsi... Pepsi???

Here's a short list of my favourite "local" foods produced right here in our neighbourhood ("our region produces so many tasty, healthy products to choose from..."):

Humpty Dumpty Cheese sticks
Cheetos Nachos
Old Dutch All Dressed Chips
High Liner Captain Chicken Strips
Lipton Green Tea with Citrus
Pepsi (I kid you not)
Michelina Chicken Fried Rice (didn't know we grew rice in Nova Scotia)
Silhouette Yogurt
Majesta bathroom tissue
Dempster's Muffins

No mention of local farms, a list of the provinces Farmer's Markets, of local bakeries... I just, I have no idea what to say to this list. Cheetos???? Looking at this list you would assume that the Atlantic provinces have no farms, no fruit trees, no fishing industry, no cattle, pigs, sheep or chickens.... just highly processed junk. That just happens to be processed in the maritimes.

Obviously the challenge is a bit of "local washing", spinning the concept that as long as it's processed in Nova Scotia, it can be considered local. This event has received a lot of media coverage with prizes given to the best "local" supper, ads being run all week on the cbc and general all around discussion. The disheartening result; instead of promoting our local (for real!) farmers and Real Food Producers, our true neighbours, this challenge places large corporations with resources not local to the maritime provinces first. Misleading consumers into believing that supporting these large, processed, polluting industries is "good" for the environment and our community and shuffles (yet again) our local farmers under the rug. Although some discussion may have occurred around Farmer's Markets and what it means to eat locally, they most certainly were not front and centre. And the true "challenge" of asking Maritimers to eat "local" in order to increase awareness was completely lost in the loose translation of what local means.

Andrew and I did not officially "sign up" for this challenge, as we already consider ourselves to eat more local (and sometimes organic) Real Food than what was listed on the site. Tomorrow we'll try to stop over at the market (even though it's SO busy and I can only handle about five minutes) pre-Guerrilla Yoga and pick up some Real Food.


article authored by EcoYogini at


  1. it definitely sounds like your corner of the world is behind in the locavore movement. maybe if you went to the farmers market super early it wouldn't be crowded? nyc's big saturday farmers market is f*n crazy so i know what you mean but i think it's less crowded when it first opens. plus that's when all the chefs go to pick up their restaurant haul for the day so it makes me feel badass knowing i might see one.

  2. ouuu that WOULD be super cool- seeing a big chef at the farmer's market.
    yep, halifax NS is definitely behind... but then i knew this moving back "home"... sigh.

    going early is the key. however, it also means being awake by 7:30am....not so key. i am tempted this weekend though :)

  3. It is sad isn't it. Local food to me conjures up images of ingredients grown nearby and made into something at home. Not processed food at all...

  4. I couldn't agree with you more! I did pledge an participate, but was supremely disappointed in the "list" they provided as suggestions. I pretty much ignored it and found a way to support local REAL food!

  5. Hi! Just wanted to check in and say thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my blog. Glad to "meet" new readers.

    We agree with everything you've said in this post...a few fellow Halifax bloggers and I did the dinner last night and we were also appauled by the list of "local" foods. As you noticed we didn't indulge in any of that processed junk...we did the farmers market and bought a locally raised chicken from Petes. :)

  6. I was shocked when I read the list of local choices too, no mention of the farmers markets, cheese houses, etc. Most of the list was processed crap.

    I had to go back and read it just to make sure and then I realized that I skipped the line - "Here are a few of the Atlantic produced foods you will find in your Co-op store"

    Makes sense because Co-op did sponsor the event but I still don't get why they left off the places to buy clean, real foods. Definitely disapointing.

  7. ack! What an awful list!!!! I can't BELIEVE it...definitely a travesty!!! Thanks for shedding some light on this topic and bringing the real local people to light! I too feel that I eat as local and organic (the true meaning of the word) as possible and try as hard as I can to wade through the "greenwashing" and be a critical and minimal consumer. I love that you are going to see Food INC. I am definitely going to have to see it too...I checked out the trailer and it looks great!!

    PS. I think they are called P.E.Islanders...

    Hugs...hope to see you soon.

  8. We have to get up hella early to make it to our farmers' market (it opens at 7, and everything's gone quickly), but I remind myself that it's worth it. It's so hard to drag myself out of bed on Saturdays, though!

  9. What a shameful list and even more shameful sham of a campaign.

    Hopefully, the majority of people avoided the "local Pepsi" and took this initiative as an opportunity to truly support local farmers and producers of REAL food!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog! I'm enjoying yours!


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