In pursuit of my passion for systems thinking, I plan to study Canada’s (more specifically, Vancouver’s) food system throughout the second semester by mapping it. My first attempt is the world map showing the major food imports to Canada from various countries across the globe. The world map will give me the chance to examine the global flow of food, and it will also help me understand where I can find opportunities for intervention in the system to further investigate. So, I intend to zoom in and out of the food system for the semester and map out my findings.
In this project, I mainly focused on our dependence on imported products such as potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. My research shows that Canada’s food system is heavily dependent on imports from Mexico, especially for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Based on this website, Mexico is Canada’s primary source of lemon and tomatoes. I traced this trade route to find out about the location of farms in Mexico that produce these items. This investigation led to finding out about labour exploitation prevalent in Mexico’s tomato farms, leading to The US banning shipments from tomato farms in Mexico. You can find more details about it here.
This was an interesting observation to me because the act of mapping a system led to finding stories of the hardship of farmers that I would not have otherwise discovered.
Bestfoodimporters. (2020, March 9). Food Importers and Food Import Trends in Canada 2020. Best Food Importers. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://bestfoodimporters.com/food-importers-and-food-import-trends-in-canada-2020/
Los Angeles Times. (2021, December 31). U.S. blocking tomato shipments from Mexican farms accused of abusing workers. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2021-12-31/u-s-blocks-tomato-shipments-from-mexican-farms-accused-of-abusing-workers
Hemmes, M. (2016, November 29). Mexican limes in steady supply to Canada. FreshPlaza. Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://www.freshplaza.com/article/2167390/mexican-limes-in-steady-supply-to-canada/
Canadian rule: Some romaine lettuce from California must be tested. Vegetable Growers News. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2022, from https://vegetablegrowersnews.com/news/canadian-rule-some-romaine-lettuce-from-california-must-be-tested/#:~:text=Due%20to%20growing%20conditions%2C%20Canada,primarily%20during%20the%20fall%20months.