Canadians want good food - this we know. But what does that mean, exactly? It’s actually a huge question that can’t be answered in a single post, or by a single person...but let’s get the discussion going. We want to hear from our customers, our readers and the greater community - producers, families, everyone! What does good food mean to you, and how do you make purchase decisions based on your personal ethics and standards?
Here’s a place to start. At VG Meats, “good food” means taste and quality...but also considers sustainability, the effect on the environment, the treatment of our animals, health and nutrition, product price and the economy. We think about the farmers producing this food and the children that eat it at your supper table. We think about the food system in Canada and the opportunities and challenges it presents to us, as producers, and to you, our customers.
We often reference “meat counter conversations”. It’s exactly what it sounds like - people asking the butcher questions here in the shop and getting honest, no-B.S. answers direct from the source. We aren’t a huge operation with a massive marketing and PR team - we’re a family with a small but mighty staff that believe in our mission and our quality. So we have real conversations with real people, and it benefits both sides. We get to hear about what you want, and you get answers about where your meat comes from. Like it says on the wall of our shop: Meet your Meat Maker. There’s truth in that message! We want to talk to you, so don’t be hesitate to say what’s on your mind.
These conversations are so important, and we feel strongly that all consumers should be having them. And they should be having them everywhere - not just with their butcher or at the local farmer’s market. There should be open dialogue wherever you buy food - wherever you want to buy good food - because this stuff matters. Restaurants, grocery stores - their (and therefore, your) meat comes from somewhere.
When you buy from any business, large or small, you’re supporting them - so ask the questions on your mind! You deserve honest answers. And if you haven’t thought too much about where your food is coming from, it’s time to start asking yourself what matters to YOU and how you’ll get it. Here’s some food for thought to get you going (excuse the pun - in this business, we can’t help it):
- When you’re buying meat or produce among the masses, from a grocery corporation, do you know where it comes from? Have you asked? (Usually, the answer is no.)
- Why not? Your voice matters. You’re the person who is exchanging money for this food, taking it home and feeding it to your family. It’s ok to have questions - even necessary!
- So if you were to talk to your grocery store, meal delivery service or favourite restaurant, do you think they’d give you the answers you want? Why or why not?
- Does this affect your decision to shop there? And if so, what will you say to your grocer or restaurant owner to express that you want more from them (either transparency, quality or something else)?
- Ethics play a role in the clothes we buy and brands we support, and food is no different! Does the food you buy contribute to global warming? The mistreatment of animals? Health issues caused by poor quality or inadequate nutrition information?
- Do your grocery and restaurant choices support the local food economy or contribute to their struggle? Do you know why, or want to be better informed?
This is only the beginning - and to be clear, we’re not slagging grocery stores or restaurants. Naturally, the VG Meats team buys from big name stores and eats at both local and big-name restaurants, just like you do. But because of our industry knowledge and experience, we’re extremely well-informed...and you can be, too! Your voice is needed to shape better food systems in Canada. It’s critical, actually. You may not have all the answers now - most people don’t! - but you can join the conversation and help shape a movement. Better food means better communities, and VG Meats is dedicated to serving them well.
You’re smart, you’re a decision-maker and you have a voice. We feel that people will do the right thing when they have the tools and information needed to do so. When you start asking questions, you’ll be amazed at what you learn. Let’s get talking and create a Canada where EVERYONE feels good about where their food comes from.