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Nova Scotia buying more local food survey finds

By Evan Taylor Jan 4, 2024 | 1:41 PM

Alabama Extension

Nova Scotians are championing local agriculture, dedicating a significant portion of their food budget to homegrown agri-food and dairy items, according to a recent survey conducted by the Province in collaboration with the Canadian Agri-Food Foresight Institute.

The survey reveals that approximately 27 to 34 percent of Nova Scotians’ total food spending is allocated to locally produced products, underscoring a robust commitment to supporting the province’s farmers.

“It’s heartening to witness the substantial portion of Nova Scotians’ food budget dedicated to products made right here in our province,” remarked Greg Morrow, Minister of Agriculture. “In a challenging year for many, including those in agriculture, buying local becomes an integral way to support farmers, bolster our economy, and preserve the environment. Our goal is for Nova Scotians to savor more of our outstanding local food, and the data from this innovative survey will guide informed decisions to further that aim.”

Developed as a pioneering model, this survey allows researchers to precisely determine the share of Nova Scotians’ total food budget spent on local products. With the intent of supporting and encouraging local food consumption, the survey forms part of the Department’s mandate, aiming for 20 percent of Nova Scotians’ food expenditure to be directed towards locally produced food by 2030.

Participants from diverse backgrounds across the province, representing a range of ages and socioeconomic levels, estimate their spending on local food products across 15 categories. Conducted three times in 2023—in January, April, and October—the survey captures seasonal variations in local food consumption. To enhance accuracy, the results are weighted using Statistics Canada food expenditure data.

Sylvain Charlebois, Senior Director of the Canadian Agri-Food Foresight Institute, expressed pride in the collaboration, stating, “We are honoured to work alongside the Province in establishing a pioneering model for accurately assessing expenditures on locally sourced food. This groundbreaking initiative, the first of its kind in Canada, is poised to establish a new benchmark for monitoring nationwide patterns of supporting local food. This achievement sets us apart from any other jurisdiction in the country.”