Local food survey results May 2017

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Recently, the North Grenville Times posted an online survey on local food. We wanted to know: if you buy it, where you buy it, why you buy it, what you buy and how important it is to you to buy it. The survey ran for two weeks and 213 people answered the six multiple choice questions. Each question allowed people to make an additional choice or leave a comment or both.

Question #1 asked: “What does ‘local food’ mean to you in terms of distance?” Respondents could make only one choice including making a comment or an additional choice. The results were: 8.92% of people chose “Anything grown/made in North Grenville.”, 17.84% chose “Anything grown/made in Leeds and Grenville.”, 28.64% chose “Anything grown/made within two hours drive of where you live.”, 26.29% chose “Anything grown/made in Eastern Ontario.”, 11.74% chose “Anything grown/made in Ontario.” and 6.57% chose to make an additional choice or comment. The majority of comments stated a preference for within an hour’s travel or some variation of this (within Leeds Grenville/North Grenville etc.).

Question #2 asked: “How important is it to you to buy locally grown/made food?”
People could make only one choice including making a comment. The results were: 7.98% of people chose “Absolutely essential.”, 48.83% chose “Very important.”, 38.03% chose “Somewhat important.”, 2.82% chose “Not important.”, 0% chose “I don’t buy local food.” And 2.35% chose to leave a comment. The comments all pointed to pricing as a factor when making the choice to buy local food.

Question #3 asked: “Why do you buy local food?”
Respondents could choose multiple options including making a comment or giving an additional reason. The results were: 72.64% of people chose “It’s fresher.” as one of their reasons, 47.64% chose “It tastes better.” as one of their reasons, 89.15% chose “I’m supporting local business.” as one of their reasons, 52.83% chose “I feel more secure about how it’s grown/made and the ingredients.”, 53.77% chose “I like knowing who’s growing/making my food.”, 47.17% chose “It’s more environmentally responsible.”, 0.47% chose “I don’t buy local food.” and 7.08% chose to comment or gave an additional reason. Among the comments and reasons, a number of them were along the theme of being supportive of local farmers, farms, local business and the community.

Question #4 asked: “Why do you think that some people might NOT buy local food?” with people able to choose multiple options including making a comment or giving an additional reason. The results were: 83.1% of people chose “They think it’s more expensive.” as one of their reasons, 36.15% chose “They’re not sure where to buy it.” as one of their reasons, 70.89% chose “It’s not sold where they normally buy food (inconvenient – means an extra trip or more driving), 24.41% chose “They’re not exactly sure what is local and what isn’t.”, 41.31% chose “They don’t know about the range of local food products that are available.”, 23% chose “They have a negative perception of local food (oddly shaped produce, ugly packaging, food safety concerns etc.)”, and 11.27% chose to comment or gave an additional reason. The comments were varied, but “some people don’t care” was the most frequently mentioned reason.

Question #5 asked: “What types of local food do you buy regularly?” with respondents being able to choose multiple options including making a comment or offering another choice. The results were: 75.12% of people chose “Local meats and proteins (eggs, sausages, beef, pork, poultry etc.) as one of their choices, 88.73% chose “Local produce.” as one of their choices, 66.67% chose “Locally baked goods.” as one of their choices, 55.87% chose “Locally made prepared foods (honey, pickles, salsa, cheese, yogurt, jams etc.)”, 37.09% chose “Locally grown/made foods that are found at food service establishments (restaurants, cafes, coffee shops etc.)”, 0.47% chose “I don’t buy local food.” and 6.57% commented or gave an additional choice. The comments were widely varied with a few people unhappy that honey was included in the “prepared food” choice.

Question #6 asked: “Which of the following are your favourite sources for local food?” with people being able to choose multiple options including making a comment or offering another choice. The results were: 81.69% chose “B&H grocery store in Kemptville.” as one of their choices, 21.13% chose “Heather’s Healthy Harvest food store in Kemptville.” as one of their choices, 18.78% chose “Nature’s Way food store in Kemptville.” as one of their options, 73.24% chose “Kemptville Farmers’ Market.”, 40.38% chose “Farmgate/roadside stands.”, and 25.35% commented or gave an additional option. A number of responses indicated that people grow their own produce, while some people get local food through the Two Rivers Food Hub, some visit other farmers’ markets and a few mentioned Jonsson’s Your Independent Grocer.

Thank you to those who contributed to the survey as your input was very helpful. You’ve indicated that there are some gaps in information that have arisen around local food. Subjects like a general lack of public awareness for some people about local food, a lack of education about different aspects of local food and specific concerns over the perception that local food is prohibitively expensive. These are great subjects that we’ll discuss in the coming weeks in the North Grenville Times and online at www.ngtimes.ca.

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