Comment – March 2024

Last month, Stats Canada reported that as of July of last year, the millennial generation — born between 1981 and 1996 — had surpassed the baby boom generation — born between 1946 and 1965 — in population size for the first time. Millennials on average have higher education, technological literacy and are more racially diverse than the boomer generation.  Now in their economic prime, they are facing financial hardships later in life.  According to Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Professor in food and distribution policy at Dalhousie University, this group previously shopped at specialty food stores in search of fresh, natural and environmentally-conscious food, but have recently shifted their focus to price.  More than 86% of millennials are actively seeking discounts, while 43% are using food-rescuing apps to purchase expiring food at a discount- the highest percentage of all generations.

Finding ways to put healthy food on the table is not a new challenge, but the strategies are different.  Just after WWII when things were particularly tough, a group of farmers in Sterling, Ontario banded together to feed their families. Farm tasks were performed together on each farm, including threshing grain, cutting ice to keep food cool and cutting wood for heat and cooking.  They also formed what they called the Beef Ring.  Each week one of the group would bring a steer to their slaughterhouse, where it would be butchered and the meat distributed amongst the members.  Without freezers, this meat would have a short shelf life, but this arrangement provided members with a regular supply of local, likely organic, and affordable meat.  Imagine the impact on the community when problems are shared and resolved together like this.  The actions of this group epitomize the overused phrase, “we’re all in this together”.  Don’t we wish that were true today.  KG

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