A few years back, while in a class at university, we had a video to make as our final project. As a team, we had to present a company and their social responsibilities program & actions. One of the teams presented to us the Lufa Farms. I believe the concept itself wasn’t new but it was for me and probably most of the class as well. Although I didn’t think much of it at the time, I’m now a member of the Lufa Farms program. A few weeks back, I saw a segment about urban agriculture in North America from La Semaine Verte (a weekly French-Canadian program that airs on Radio-Canada) that encouraged me to jump in the action.
What is it?
Lufa Farms is an urban agriculture program that grows a variety of biological and local produces on the rooftops of Montreal. They first open in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough.
At first, like I said, I was convinced about the concept. Mainly because it was new and they didn’t have as many pick-up points as they do now. I was also sure that it would cost me more than buying at my usual grocery store. It was maybe the case at the beginning (logically) but these days it’s usually less or the same price than in stores. Of course, you’re not going to find everything all-year-round nor exotic fruits or veggies since they grow local produces based on the season but it gives you the chance to renew with what we used to eat and local cuisine even. So yeah, don’t expect to find avocados or bananas at your local urban farm if it doesn’t naturally grow in your area (aka not my area).
Why the change?
It simple really. There’s a money aspect as well as a conscious effort to do better behind it.
I love food and I love cooking it as well and if you’re like me that probably means that you also like to try different and new things as much as you can. Doing so cost a lot whether you cook it at home or try it in a restaurant. Plus, at some point in my case, you cook so much at home that even in restaurants there’s nothing new to try or to impress you (sorry restaurants!). But, back to the cooking and money aspect of it. Buying produces to eat varied and well-balanced might cost you a lot, like a lot a lot, and at some point, just like me, you might want to reduce those costs. But, how?? Eat the seasonal produces as well as buying what’s on sale – and I mean true sales – or in bulk is usually what is proposed.
The ”issue” I have with it is that in my beautiful area we don’t have many fruits during the fall/winter season (hello apples!) but we have plenty of veggies available like onions, potatoes, and squash. Although everything is pretty much available in grocery stores all-year-round these days, it doesn’t mean that it’s local even during the season. Per example, this week I bought tomatoes from a local farm and delicious grapes from a century-old farm in Ontario via Lufa Farms. If I have never decided to subscribe to them, I would have bought those at my grocery store and they would’ve probably come from California or Mexico. Not that I don’t like theirs produces but those pantries of ours in North America need a break from us so they can hopefully preserve what’s left and refresh their lands, lands to who we ask so much from for so many decades now. By buying local – cannot be more local than that – I encourage my local producers to keep producing as well as local cooking and a better way to eat. Plus, it doesn’t cost more than buying in stores.
Is it worth it?
I’m going to be honest, at first, I thought doing that change would cost me more than just buying in stores.
It’s only been two weeks now that I started purchasing some of my produces from Lufa Farm. My first basket was around 15$ and the next one (this week) was around 25$. Even though it might sound like a lot for part of my grocery list, I already see the difference in my cost when I compare my costs to those of last month at the same period. Lufa Farms also gave me the chance to try new products that I never thought could be grown in my part of the world: grapes in October from Ontario? Come on! My goal for next week is to buy everything that I need for my meals and snacks.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post (that I wrote twice..) and that it gave you this urge to try your local farms or markets and to reconnect with local cooking!
Talk to you next Monday with some fall activities! 🙂