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Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens – How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat

by Sarah Elton

It’s nearly impossible to go to a fashionable restaurant in Canada and not encounter the local food movement. Menus these days are loaded with adjectives specifying the geographic origin or pedigree of the foods on offer, and words like locavore or terroir have quickly become part of Canada’s culinary vernacular. In her new book, CBC Radio’s Sarah Elton explores the rise of the local food movement, the current state of food in Canada, and what it means for how Canadians eat and live.

Elton’s inquiry begins like so many similar stories: she reads the label on a prepackaged cookie and is shocked to see that it comes from China rather than a local bakery. The discovery sends her on a journey to find out why. As readers of Locavore will quickly discover, that journey is an optimistic one. Rather than emphasizing the myriad problems of our current industrial food system, Elton highlights successful innovations in food production, distribution, preparation, and consumption that could be key to improving the food supply chain.

Beginning on the farm and ending at the urban kitchen table, Elton shows us farmers, chefs, and others from across Canada who are discovering innovative ways to overcome climate change, the spread of industrial farming, and the logistical challenges of feeding a megacity. Their successes, according to Elton, can serve as a model for us all. Her keen journalistic eye brings these stories to life, and readers will delight in meeting the people who are changing the way we eat.

Embodying equal parts Michael Pollan and Raj Patel, Elton has delivered a book that will enrich her readers, while also challenging them to think about what they eat. Those who are already on board with the local food movement will learn in greater depth what their choices mean, while those who are new to the subject will get a crash course on the issue. From the failings of a single cookie, Elton has built a powerful case for the potential to change our food system for the better.