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Eat Canada
July 15, 2009 10:51 PM   Subscribe


 
It's a cookbook!!!
posted by darkstar at 10:54 PM on July 15, 2009 [4 favorites]


Canadians make the best bacon, especially Québécois who have been fattened up on poutine.
posted by XMLicious at 10:59 PM on July 15, 2009 [6 favorites]


But what do Canadians taste like?
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:59 PM on July 15, 2009


And make sure everything is smothered with Hellmann's mayonnaise!
posted by KokuRyu at 11:00 PM on July 15, 2009


It's a neat PSA, but doesn't actually explain why it's important to eat Canadian-grown food, other than cursory mentions of small farms being paved over and loss of self-sufficiency.

And I have no idea why Hellman's (previously a US company, now a brand of UK/Dutch multinational Unilever) sponsored it.
posted by unmake at 11:07 PM on July 15, 2009


Eat real. Eat local.

Oh, and HELLMANN'S!

Because that stuff is totally local and never shipped anywhere else. Right?

On topic: So can someone who knows about economies explain why you would export a good and then import the exact same good? This seems to happen a lot and I've never been able to understand why.
posted by Scattercat at 11:07 PM on July 15, 2009


I prefer the chemical zip of Miracle Whip.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:08 PM on July 15, 2009


The Japanese propaganda is (unsurprisingly) cuter.
posted by mnsc at 11:12 PM on July 15, 2009


On topic: So can someone who knows about economies explain why you would export a good and then import the exact same good?

Just a guess... our two-week growing season?
posted by evilcolonel at 11:16 PM on July 15, 2009


I love these damn Hellman's ads like, are you sick of fake food? Try Mayonnaise! Yeah, I want healthy, I want local, I want organic, I'm gonna whip myself up a big bowl right now!
posted by kaspen at 11:19 PM on July 15, 2009


DONT WURY
WE UHMERRRRCONS FEEDS ARR SUBJECKS WEL
JES KEP BUYIN FUD
posted by koeselitz at 11:20 PM on July 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


I have no idea why Hellman's (previously a US company, now a brand of UK/Dutch multinational Unilever) sponsored it.

Me neither. The video is part of Hellman's Eat Real. Eat Local campaign. My guess is that they want to earn some green/local/ecofriendly cred. The video doesn't mention Hellman's though; it's not an advertisement.

There's a (short) interview with with the Creative Director for this spot.

All this via Infosthetics, I shoulda said.
posted by twoleftfeet at 11:25 PM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


The video seems to be illustrating a point about vegetables with tomatoes at one point. But tomatoes are fruit!

Ok, that's my pedantic comment of the day over with.
posted by sueinnyc at 11:27 PM on July 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Boy, I sure hope this thread fills up quickly with a bunch more one-line zingers about how they're advocating on behalf of something they don't actually produce. Because certainly no one at the ad agency or at Unilever Canada noticed that before they greenlit this thing, and you all will totally derail their brand development strategy. You really can't overemphasize how mass-produced mayo isn't actually a farmer's market tomato. I suggest each and every one of you tries.

Plus also I was totally on the verge of actually bathing my children in Hellmann's instead of tap water because I thought the mayo was more, you know, localer. But then I read in here how that wasn't so and that's how you all saved my kids from a mayo bath.

I'm from Canada, so they think I'm slow, eh?
posted by gompa at 11:27 PM on July 15, 2009 [15 favorites]


why you would export a good and then import the exact same good?

I ain't no economist, but:

You sell each variety of a good you produce to the highest bidder you can find at the time you produce it. There are many kinds of tomatoes grown in various conditions and various places around the year. People in Toronto might be willing to pay for fancy little gourmet tomatoes grown in California in February and yet Ontario farmers might be selling big fat cooking tomatoes to a US ketchup corporation in August. In the video, I suspect this would be reduced to something like "Ontario exports x tomatoes and imports 10x tomatoes." Canada has (until global warming really kicks in -- keep your fingers crossed, Canadian farmers) a fairly short growing season, so I imagine there are lots of things Canada can grow (and eat and export fresh) for a month or two a year and then import (or eat out of cans and jars) during the rest of the year.
posted by pracowity at 11:32 PM on July 15, 2009


The video doesn't mention Hellman's though; it's not an advertisement.

It does though - at ~ 2:39 the Hellman's logo appears below EatRealEatLoca.ca.

That said, I wouldn't call it an advertisement either - this is in that grey zone of public radio underwriter messages, like "financial support provided by McDonalds, a proud supporter of Diabetic Research".
posted by unmake at 11:36 PM on July 15, 2009


why you would export a good and then import the exact same good?

Anecdotally, I see tomatoes in our local California Trader Joe's that are hothouse grown in Canada outside of the season here.
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:36 PM on July 15, 2009


I prefer my Canadians battered and deep-fried, preferably with maple syrup for dipping.
posted by armage at 11:37 PM on July 15, 2009


I'm fairly certain I've seen an edited version of this on tv, culminating in a Hellmann's logo. Verdict: Advertisement.
posted by kaspen at 11:40 PM on July 15, 2009


Oh I wish I was grilling up Prince Edward Island
And going on to fry Ontario
The consumption of Canada and all of its people
Is by far the tastiest scenario

with apologies to Tom Servo
posted by DecemberBoy at 11:57 PM on July 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Grilled Canadian sandwiches, mmm yummy.
posted by WalterMitty at 12:01 AM on July 16, 2009


My girlfriend is from Winnipeg and she would like nothing more than for me to eat Canadian as much as is possible.
posted by vapidave at 12:02 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


why you would export a good and then import the exact same good?

Aside from the explanations above, it is worth recalling that Canada is a really big country with a really long border with the USA. So for those of us in BC, Washington and even California produce has to travel far less than Ontario produce. So it may make more sense to export that Ontario produce to the Eastern US and import Western US produce to BC.

Boy, I sure hope this thread fills up quickly with a bunch more one-line zingers about how they're advocating on behalf of something they don't actually produce.

To be fair, though, mayo is mostly canola oil in Canada and if there is one thing that we produce a lot of in Canada, it is canola oil. I have a hard time calling a manufactured food made from ingredients grown a thousand kilometers away local, but at least the ad wasn't put out by New Zealand Lamb or something.
posted by ssg at 12:06 AM on July 16, 2009


Actually it would be worse if the ads were put out by McCain to convince us to eat their lovely PEI potato and prairie canola preparations.
posted by ssg at 12:09 AM on July 16, 2009


Was it just me, or did the music, editing and singsong tone of the voiceover make you keep thinking this was a 30-second commercial that was about to end... now.

No, wait there's more.... and that's the end. No... more.... okay now.... nope.
posted by rokusan at 12:26 AM on July 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


The true connoisseur prefers the Canadians from the woods of North Ontario.
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:42 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The video seems to be illustrating a point about vegetables with tomatoes at one point. But tomatoes are fruit!

so are beans and apples, which this video also features.
posted by onya at 12:44 AM on July 16, 2009


So are some Canadians!
posted by XMLicious at 12:58 AM on July 16, 2009


Snhuuuuuuhhzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz......
posted by GavinR at 12:59 AM on July 16, 2009


gompa: Boy, I sure hope this thread fills up quickly with a bunch more one-line zingers about how they're advocating on behalf of something they don't actually produce. Because certainly no one at the ad agency or at Unilever Canada noticed that before they greenlit this thing, and you all will totally derail their brand development strategy. You really can't overemphasize how mass-produced mayo isn't actually a farmer's market tomato. I suggest each and every one of you tries.

Plus also I was totally on the verge of actually bathing my children in Hellmann's instead of tap water because I thought the mayo was more, you know, localer. But then I read in here how that wasn't so and that's how you all saved my kids from a mayo bath.

I'm from Canada, so they think I'm slow, eh?


Ah. I see you're French Canadian.
posted by koeselitz at 1:07 AM on July 16, 2009


The ad campaign is local-washing: trying to imply that Hellman's is "local" by association. There was an article about it in our local "alternative press" rag last week. The 3rd paragraph mentioned the Hellman's ads:
This new variation on corporate green-washing—local washing—is, like the “buy local” movement itself, most advanced in the context of food. Hellmann’s, the mayonnaise brand owned by the processed-food giant Unilever, is test-driving a new “Eat Real, Eat Local,” initiative in Canada. The ad campaign seems aimed partly at enhancing the brand by simply associating Hellmann’s with local food. But it also makes the a claim that Hellmann’s is local, because most of its ingredients come from North America.
Tracking the corporate co-opt of the buy-local movement
posted by jdfan at 1:28 AM on July 16, 2009 [8 favorites]


The ad campaign is local-washing: trying to imply that Hellman's is "local" by association.

Yes, but if the net result is that people eat more local fruits and vegetables, I don't mind so much if they continue to throw a little multiglomernationated dressing on their salads.
posted by pracowity at 2:09 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


if the net result is that people eat more local fruits and vegetables, I don't mind so much

Exactly. Let's examine the message a little more, and a little less examining the messenger. Honestly if Monsanto put a little short like that out with the message that "you shoudn't light yourself on fire with gasoline" I don't think anyone would be thinking "Hmmm. Monsanto, eh? They must want us to instead use corn-derived ethanol to light ourselves on fire with, the tricky bastards!!!!"
posted by barc0001 at 2:37 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love these damn Hellman's ads like, are you sick of fake food? Try Mayonnaise! Yeah, I want healthy, I want local, I want organic, I'm gonna whip myself up a big bowl right now!

The ingredients list on Hellman's mayo is surprisingly short, with only one antimicrobial agent way down at the bottom of the list:
INGREDIENTS: SOYBEAN OIL, WATER, WHOLE EGGS AND EGG YOLKS, VINEGAR, SALT, SUGAR, LEMON JUICE, NATURAL FLAVORS, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA (USED TO PROTECT QUALITY)
Much like Gould's Mustard, another mass-market brand, I was surprised to find out it had very few ingredients and few or no preservatives as compared to the boutique brands. Just because it seems like it's artificial and complicated doesn't mean it is. (Then I discovered Alton, and found out how all this stuff is easily made at home, and made better, because you can alter the ingredients and flavorings to suit your particular taste. Chili-oil mayo FTW.)

On the other hand, stuff that seems like it's simple and natural, like ground pepper or cayenne chili powder, often has fillers and preservatives that aren't only unhealthy, but affect flavor in a bad way. (Grind your own spice!)
posted by Slap*Happy at 3:01 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


No thanks, too gamey.
posted by moonbiter at 3:09 AM on July 16, 2009


This smacks of short-sighted nationalism, a typical knee-jerk reaction to a shrinking economy.
posted by dearsina at 4:30 AM on July 16, 2009


On the one hand, protecting your nation's vitality and ability to produce is important. On the other hand, that's how America fell way behind in the auto industry, protecting rather than competing.

Threat of warfare and self-sufficiency aside, it does make sense from a comparative advantage standpoint for Canada to produce other things, and import produce. Other countries can make more of it, with greater variety, cheaper, even after importing costs are taken into account. That, and despite the graphics saying "Chile" and other far-away nations, I'm guessing most of the imported food is from the US. In an increasingly globalized world, is this a problem? If the US and Canada were combined into a single country, would this even be a concern?
posted by explosion at 4:37 AM on July 16, 2009


This smacks of short-sighted nationalism, a typical knee-jerk reaction to a shrinking economy.

Or long-sighted worldism, a typical thoughtful reaction to a warming planet.
posted by pracowity at 4:39 AM on July 16, 2009 [3 favorites]


Animated graphics explain the importance of eating Canadian

...food....

And despite what you may have heard, swans are not "practically chicken".

Self-preservational caveats aside, good video, both in terms of its production values and its content. I believe in giving the devil his due, so I don't care what Hellman's agenda is in doing something like this so long as it is a constructive action in itself.
posted by orange swan at 4:56 AM on July 16, 2009


Hang on just a minute. It is absolutely vital that fertile productive farmland surrounding cities is turned into urban sprawl. Just imagine the effect on inner city property prices if high density housing was allowed to encroach on our lovely leafy inner city suburbs.
posted by mattoxic at 5:30 AM on July 16, 2009


> The video seems to be illustrating a point about vegetables with tomatoes at one point. But tomatoes are fruit!

When I was a teenager I worked at a grocery store across the road from a seniors' residence. Some of the residents were less than 100% lucid, and there was this one lady who only came into the store to track me down and ask "Young man, why are canned tomatoes in the vegetable aisle? Tomatoes are a FRUIT!" I was told that sometimes she'd come in when I wasn't working, look around and leave without talking to anyone. The whole thing creeped me out a bit, but on the plus side I did learn that tomatoes are, in fact, fruit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 5:36 AM on July 16, 2009


Or long-sighted worldism, a typical thoughtful reaction to a warming planet.

Yeah, but only if it's not Americans doing it.
posted by FishBike at 5:48 AM on July 16, 2009


Its gonna be like that, hunh? Forget Hellmann's mayonnaise - I'm gonna get me some 'Merican mayonnaise! (Dang... where's Miracle Whip made?)
posted by LakesideOrion at 5:50 AM on July 16, 2009


McCormick's makes Mayonesa con Limon! I mean, if you want to complete the NAFTA circle.

Personally, I want to go back to the days where neighbors left bags of zucchini and tomatoes on your doorstep in the dead of night.

Now I want to start a kitchen garden…
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:16 AM on July 16, 2009


What, you guys are going to start eating Miracle Whip? Please.
posted by chunking express at 6:30 AM on July 16, 2009


At first glance, I read the headline as "importance of eating a Canadian". Which would have been much more interesting to explain with animated infographics.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:43 AM on July 16, 2009


No one's railing against mayonnaise on hamburgers yet? NO. MAYONNAISE. ON. HAMBURGERS!
posted by backseatpilot at 6:57 AM on July 16, 2009


Personally, I want to go back to the days where neighbors left bags of zucchini and tomatoes on your doorstep in the dead of night.

These days, even if what's left at my front door looks like zucchini or tomatoes, I'm not gonna eat them.

Threat of warfare and self-sufficiency aside, it does make sense from a comparative advantage standpoint for Canada to produce other things, and import produce. Other countries can make more of it, with greater variety, cheaper, even after importing costs are taken into account.

Give farm workers a living wage, lose the subsidies (farms, oil, etc), and see whether or not local strawberries in Ontario are still more expensive there than those grown in California or Mexico.

If the US and Canada were combined into a single country, would this even be a concern?

I think the local eating movement is more about cutting back the resources used to get food to the table, not nationalism. Eating food grown close to home means less fuel consumed getting it to me, which means I have more fuel to burn while waiting in the drive-thru for my grande decaf soy latte...
posted by Bearman at 7:00 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tomatoes are so totally fabulous, they are both fruit (botany), and vegetable (nutrition)! And they are tasty with mayonnaise. They have their place at any meal, too.

sebastienbailard's link above (North Ontario) is awesome. Don't miss it. Seriously, black flies are terrible! Don't go up there before August!.
posted by Goofyy at 7:05 AM on July 16, 2009


Ugh. The cynicism in this thread is depressing. Yes, every big corporation is trying to sell you stuff. Yes, they are trying to associate their brands with positive ideas to make you think they're good. That doesn't mean every big corporation is evil 100% of the time. I find it really hard to see how the messages in this 2-minute spot could be interpreted negatively. Occasionally big corporations do nice things! Of course there is self-interest, but as long as they're associating themselves with something, wouldn't you rather big multinationals champion good causes rather than bad? If someone in Ontario decides to buy local strawberries instead of big, tasteless mutants from California after watching this, shouldn't we applaud Unilever a little?
Can a big brand be a leader of the real food movement? We think so. We started with Urban Gardens two years ago, promoting the enjoyment of more real, fresh foods in Canada's cities. We gave out gardening gloves, seeds, loads of tips and recipes, along with free garden plots. Last year Hellmann's worked with Evergreen and local community groups to create a network of community food gardens across Canada. We encouraged all Canadians to choose more real foods whether from the garden or the grocery shelf.
Oh, those dirty, rotten scoundrels. Giving away free garden plots! They obviously want people to grow romaine lettuce so that they'll start making creamy caesar dressing from Hellmann's mayonnaise.
posted by attaboy at 7:07 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


And frankly, "Eat Canadian" isn't eating local, not even for Canadians. I mean, come on: you're telling me Alberta Beef is local for Newfoundland?

That said, more actually local concepts, like the 100 mile diet, will never really take off in North America for three simple reasons:
  1. Coffee
  2. Tea
  3. Chocolate
posted by Decimask at 7:18 AM on July 16, 2009


I should add that on the Eat Real, Eat Local website, Hellmann's is promising to donate $25,000 to Evergreen, a registered charity that works to green cities and reconnect urban dwellers to nature.
posted by attaboy at 7:21 AM on July 16, 2009


Decimask, even the authors of The 100 Mile Diet books agree with you:

Are you still on the 100-Mile Diet?

Yes - more or less. We lived a year on the 100-Mile Diet as an experiment. Now we’re committed to eating locally, but certain long-distance favorites have made it back into the larder. Like olives. And chocolate. And beer.
posted by Bearman at 7:39 AM on July 16, 2009


unmake: "And I have no idea why Hellman's (previously a US company, now a brand of UK/Dutch multinational Unilever) sponsored it."

There are lots of reasons why a company might run an indirect advertising campaign. They might have done some market research and found out that people eat disproportionate amounts of mayo when they eat local/organic food. Or maybe that people perceive Hellman's mayo as a high-quality product, so if you can get people to start "buying quality," they'll be more receptive to an up-market value proposition. And it might just be part of burnishing their corporate image a bit, by not acting like GlobalMayoCo once in a while.

If I had to guess, it's probably a combination of factors like that.

If I was a foods manufacturer of just about any stripe, I'd be pretty threatened by the continuous cost pressure and "race to the bottom" you get from companies like Wal-Mart, and consumers' refusal to shop, in large part, on anything except price. A company like Hellman's, if they're not very careful, could easily end up being the next Vlasic Pickles. So an advertising campaign aimed at encouraging people to spend more money on food, and look at things besides just the price tag when shopping, could be a seriously positive thing. Although getting people to consider the country of origin might not do anything for Hellman's mayo directly, just getting them to buy something aside from the cheapest product on the shelf might.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:08 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, that's how America fell way behind in the auto industry, protecting rather than competing.

Hm, well, when Canada takes the high road by not subsidizing farmers when everyone else does, guess who suffers?
posted by GuyZero at 9:33 AM on July 16, 2009


That said, more actually local concepts, like the 100 mile diet, will never really take off in North America for three simple reasons: 1. Coffee 2. Tea 3. Chocolate

I think most people understand the concept of eating more local food pretty well. It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing endeavour. The 100-mile diet is an interesting experiment, but it isn't the only (or even the best) way to think about feeding ourselves sustainably.
posted by ssg at 9:37 AM on July 16, 2009


Evergreen is a fantastic organization doing great work that can really use the cash, so hurray for that. I still find mayo as the poster boy of healthy local food to be laughable.
posted by kaspen at 9:46 AM on July 16, 2009


That said, more actually local concepts, like the 100 mile diet, will never really take off in North America for three simple reasons: Coffee, Tea, [and] Chocolate.

Way to setup a completely false dichotomy. "If you can't be pure, you fail!" Nonsense.

An incremental, partial improvement, buying half local, say beef, apples, pears, cheese, dairy, and grapes, while still eating a few selected imported goods, is much, much better than yelling "Fuckkit!" and buying a Big Mac.
posted by bonehead at 9:52 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


That said, more actually local concepts, like the 100 mile diet, will never really take off in North America for three simple reasons: Coffee, Tea, [and] Chocolate.

Funny how Canada exported $175M of coffee in 2006 then, huh? Refer to figure 6.

Also, by that logic most of Italy shouldn't be eating pasta because I'm fairly sure the bulk of their durum wheat comes from the US or Canada. Some agri-products are prefect for export: coffee, tea, chocolate and what all have dense, dry forms that have long shelf life and are perfect for export. Also, these products have fairly limited growing areas that are difficult to interleave with more urban areas.

Fresh Vegetables, fruit and most meat can typically be grown close to where it will be consumed and require a lot of special handling to ensure they travel well in addition to usually being bred for stability as opposed to flavour, e.g. the stereotypical wooden tomato.

Eating local isn't about maximizing dogma or being an idiot. It's about making choices based on something other than the absolute lowest price and not ignoring externalities.
posted by GuyZero at 10:01 AM on July 16, 2009


I'm with bonehead and GuyZero. When you buy those snow peas, do you really think it's cheaper to grow them in China, put them on a freighter and bring them all the way over here? Only if you're not including the air you and your children breathe in your definition of cheap.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:09 AM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The ad campaign is local-washing: trying to imply that Hellman's is "local" by association.

See, this is exactly the kinda Manichean hyperoversimplified horseshit that drives me nuts about the more strident wings of the greenie left. It's just profoundly ignorant of the circumstances under which most people live and under which the overwhelming majority of our food is produced, distributed and especially marketed.

Take the ideal Canadian case - that outlying five percent or whatever who actually shop regularly at small indie/natural food grocers and farmers' markets. I'll use me, because I live a five-minute walk from the biggest (and least expensive) full-service farmer's market in a major Canadian city (Calgary), and I've got what I'd say is probably a way above average interest in sustainability and smaller carbon footprints and such and such.

So say I go to my market at the peak of the harvest, the Punjabis from the Okanagan elbow to elbow with southern Alberta Hutterites in the main marketplace area. I find some absolutely magnificent field tomatoes from a Punjabi farm stall, then pick up some tender buttery romaine from a Hutterite, plus a bag of their luscious little carrots for a side dish. I head over to the year-round section of the market and get my trusted German deli fraulein Regina to hack me off a little slab of her lovely bacon. I go find a loaf of sourdough at the in-house bakery. I pack all this up along with everything else I pick up weekly at the peak of the season from sellers who know my daughter by name (her beloved blue stuffed monkey was a gift from her favourite employee at the biggest greengrocer).

I take it all home and get set up for one doozy of a BLT. This is gonna make my day. Now, with two kids and work and all the rest, odds are in the 99:1 range that I won't be whipping up some mayo from scratch, and health regulations around raw eggs being what they are, mayo's one of those things I've never seen handmade and bottled at a farmers' market.

So you know what I'm putting on that BLT? Store-bought mayo. Maybe Hellmann's, or else the house brand from whatever supermarket I was at the last time I needed more mayo. At the moment, it's some organic product from Spectrum Organics of Boulder, Colorado, which actually makes it less local than Hellmann's, probably.

And as noted above
, mayo in general's one of the least adulterated mass-market products on the shelf, which is why at my local Safeway it's on an outside shelf near the produce, not an inside shelf along side Dora the Explorer's Mega Rainforest Adventure FrootSnax.

The association between Hellmann's and local food exists. It's loose but legit. Hellmann's, being very smart and ahead of the curve compared to other household name brands, figured this out. They are advertising their wares by producing a slick, persuasive and wholly positive message of the sort that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada would do as a PSA if they didn't have their heads so far up the asses of the Maple Leafs and McCains and Monsantos of the world they went and added that "Agri-Food" thing to the very title of the portfolio.

This is not ideal - sure, I should make my own mayo once in awhile, I guess, and wouldn't it be nice if the Canadian government still used the empty spaces between shows on the CBC to show us NFB shorts and PSAs about how buying local was better for the nation's small farmers? But the perfect not being the enemy of good in my estimation, it'll do.

And "local-washing" is self-righteous, self-congratulatory bullshit peddled by people who haven't talked to any of the vast majority of Canadians who buy their mayo and much else at Walmart in so long they actually think the majority of us lives in a fully serviced downtown oasis where local and organic stuff is plentiful and everyone has money to suck up the premium on it all. It's several degrees of dishonest beyond what Hellmann's is doing.
posted by gompa at 10:20 AM on July 16, 2009 [4 favorites]


Oh, and as a post-rant digestif, here's a breaking story for the local-washing watchdogs to froth about:

At Wal-Mart, Labels to Reflect Green Intent
posted by gompa at 10:41 AM on July 16, 2009


But what about the infographics? I love infographics, as long as they're pretty.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:45 AM on July 16, 2009


Oh, and for the cynically dismissive in this thread, a gift... Did you notice a plate of devilled eggs on the table, even though the eggs didn't get mentioned? Devilled eggs are made with mayonnaise. Yes, it's stealth marketing at its dastardly worst!
posted by orange swan at 11:35 AM on July 16, 2009


Consumer-driven economic forces are all well and good, but what about production? What should farmers be doing?

We don't use very much animal or manual labour for food production in Canada.
Manual labour is always cheapest, followed by animal labour.

There is a tradeoff between transportation oil costs and production oil costs, summarized effectively by Richard Manning's The Oil We Eat, published in Harper's:
"Every single calorie we eat is backed by at least a calorie of oil, more like ten. In 1940 the average farm in the United States produced 2.3 calories of food energy for every calorie of fossil energy it used. By 1974 (the last year in which anyone looked closely at this issue), that ratio was 1:1."
Our growing season in Canada is 1/2 to 1/4 the length of warmer parts of the world, but farmers here still need barns and tractors: planters, sprayers, threshers, wagons, combines. We lose on economies of scale.

Would you like to spend more money on food so that your food production can be mechanized, or would you like to endorse human labour in poorer parts of the world?

Would you like to
a) continue the status quo?
b) eat only indigenous Canadian foods?
c) eat only food that can be grown here?
d) spend an order of magnitude more on food so we can grow all foods in greenhouses or hydroponically?

Historically, our largest crop export has been grain. The U.S. and European market started protectionist policies in the 70s, which had almost eliminated our export markets until the 1991 Canada-U.S. free trade agreement created a 10-year tariff phaseout. We now have an export market, but our processing/milling industry has not recovered, and 70% of processing is done by two american-owned mills.

The role of beef farming increased, which is why mad cow disease was such a big deal:
We went from 1.7 million head of cattle exported in 2002 to ZERO in 2004.
We are now back up to 1.1 million head of cattle exported as of 2006.
Beef          	27.00%
Other Grain 	13.00%
Hay   		8.00%
Dairy 		7.00%
Horse 		7.00%
Wheat 		6.00%
Fruits 		4.00%
Soybean 	3.00%
Pig 		3.00%
Trees (+xmas) 	2.00%
Chicken/Egg 	2.00%
Vegetables 	2.00%
Flowers 	1.00%
Potatoes 	1.00%
(this is a summary I made, and neglects 14% of other miscellania)
StatsCan Agriculture Overview
StatsCan Summary Tables
posted by metalfilter at 11:38 AM on July 16, 2009 [2 favorites]


If y'all'd export poutine y'all wouldn't have this export problem, but no, go on, keep it for yourselves. We'd have to trade it for proper bacon or something to keep the caloric trade balance I believe, but Lets Make This Happen, Canada.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:54 AM on July 16, 2009


Curds don't travel well/need to be really fresh which is why it's next to impossible to get really good poutine with fresh, squeaky curds anywhere. And, sadly, the emergence of mega-dairies sending blocks of bland cheddar across the country has put the small dairies that could have made curds like that out of business. Anyway, patronize your local dairy. Stopping by the local dairy near my grandpa's dairy farm to get curds made that day is a clear childhood memory for me. It's kinda sad that it's something I literally cannot do with my own kids. I think I even stuck my hand into a vat of whey once when no one was looking - that might have been a problem I guess.
posted by GuyZero at 12:04 PM on July 16, 2009


But what about the infographics?

Yeah, what about the infographics? The animated infographics were what led me to make the post in the first place, but the comments have gone in other directions.

I remember once I was watching Triumph of the Will with some other people and I blurted out "hey, this film is great! Look at the camera work and the use of light and shade!" and somebody else said "Dude, this is a pro-nazi film" and I said "Oh, I forgot. I meant to say that this film sucks."

It's a bit like that.
posted by twoleftfeet at 5:30 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


The video implied that Nova Scotia blueberry production is on a downward trend. Quoting:
"In 2007 NS produced half as many Blueberries as it did just four years earlier."

This is simply false, 2007 could have been a poor year, but in all respects blueberry production is expanding (government money, high prices in recent years, land clearing). And it's not like urban areas are encroaching on low bush blueberry areas, they usually seem to be grown on rocky, hilly land far from major urban centers (Oxford is the blueberry capital of NS).

Some contrary to the video evidence:
In Canada, lowbush area increased 57% since 1992 with 37% and 34% of the area planted in Quebec and Nova Scotia, respectively. I'm sure there is more out there.
posted by sety at 6:34 PM on July 16, 2009


The video seems to be illustrating a point about vegetables with tomatoes at one point. But tomatoes are fruit!

Probably not-very-interesting-data-point: in Korea, they take the tomatoes-as-fruit thing seriously. Tomato juice is heavily sweetened (and disgusting, to my palate), to the point where you can't buy tomato juice that is less sugary than, say, orange juice.

It is the bane of the cocktail-y part of existence.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:51 PM on July 16, 2009 [1 favorite]


Anecdotally, I see tomatoes in our local California Trader Joe's that are hothouse grown in Canada outside of the season here.

That's because it's hella more efficient to heat a greenhouse than it is to cool it off. There have been some hefty NAFTA battles between Florida and Ontario. It just makes no sense to try doing the greenhouse thing in Florida, but they do, and they want to punish Ontario for having a more energy-efficient location.

WRT short growing seasons, my local farmers bring in three full cereal crops each summer. I'm sure a good chunk of the prairies pulls the same trick. Hell, even central BC gets in a couple crops.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:46 PM on July 16, 2009


twoleftfeetPoster: "The video doesn't mention Hellman's though; it's not an advertisement."

It does, at the end you can see the Hellman's logo at the down right corner.
posted by zouhair at 10:54 PM on July 16, 2009


The word "advertisement" usually means a paid effort to promote a product or service. Hellman's isn't doing that here. They're paying for a message with the hope that good feelings will spill over to their product. It's not advertising. Not advertising 1.0 anyway.

To me this is the most desirable possible outcome for a system that associates media presence with corporate messaging. If we can get corporations to sponsor earth-friendly messaging then everybody wins.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:30 AM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree with twoleftfeet, at least as far as phase I is concerned. Next step might be to sponsor farmer's markets with Hellman logo's all over, and printed recipes next to the food that mention Hellman's mayo. Maybe an ad jingle using the tune for Guantanamero with "One ton of Mayo" in the lyrics.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:34 PM on July 17, 2009


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