My name is Lance Bishop. I own Wild Mountain Farm and I've just spent 10 years in the socio-political fiasco known as the “mad cow crisis” because somebody somewhere thought it was cheaper to feed dead cows to cows. It had nothing to do with me but it changed my life and the lives of many Canadian farmers and our communities. I survived by working off-farm and marketing our grassfed beef directly to customers to receive a viable return during a time when beef prices fell so low the Maritimes lost over 40% of cattle farms.
Now cattle prices are at record highs because people still eat beef but there aren’t as many cows. And though I'm happy to see fair market prices return for cow farmers, I’ve learned an amazing lesson about selling cattle on commodity markets—the economy doesn’t care about the good of local producers or communities. Only people care.
Many people already know about Wild Mountain Farm through our presence at Farmers' Markets and our Grass-fed Meat-ups. Through direct-to-consumer meat marketing we’ve had the opportunity to help people gain greater connections with their food. Eating local food from producers you can know is central to this connection. I believe this is an aspect of our human experience we ultimately need to restore if we are to continue as a species on Earth.
So as many cow farmers get back to the business of shipping their calves to Quebec, Ontario, and the US. I’m thinking closer to home-- a food delivery service just for local foods. I want to keep supplying our customers with our grassfed meats but go further than this by helping other producers of local foods get their products to market.
And so was born this online store and food delivery idea to do the runaround to get the products from diverse NS producers to the people and families who want to source local food they can trust and believe in. In this idea, we all have a personal interest in the local good of our province and our planet. That’s why I’ve named it “LocalGoodNS".
I think we can grow a more secure market for NS producers by increasing the proportion of our household foods that can be sourced easily and regularly from close to home. Food consumption here is currently localizing with an estimate of about 15% coming from Nova Scotia right now. A lot of this is happening through the rise and success of farmers’ markets. Every additional 1% of imported food Nova Scotians can replace with local food returns at least 20 million dollars annually to the NS economy. To me that’s an impressive figure. When this trend is based on products from sustainable NS businesses, we set the stage for a new economy—a regenerative and resilient economy with social and environmental responsibility built right in it. I think this is REALLY GOOD!
Lance Bishop, Grass-Fed Cow Farmer at Wild Mountain Farm