The date is April 10, 1917. Canada, still considered a British colony at the time; was in the middle of a fight many had lost before. The German forces had control of some high ground in France known as Vimy Ridge. Helping France regain control of it meant that the British Third Army would be able to easily move south bound, it would also lower the amount of German attacks on France. For Canadians, there was more on the line, whether the soldiers knew it or not this would be Canada’s chance to prove they were a nation on their own. This event was the first battle where all four divisions of Canada’s Corp’s attacked as one formation, and ultimately succeeded where other countries couldn’t. Canada received its status as a nation because of the unparalleled unity, and tactical superiority it had demonstrated… so why do I bring this up on a culinary blog, well shortly after Vimy Ridge, there was another battle forming at home for Canada. They were fighting on a global level, and with a population of only 8 million there was a need for soldiers and the food to feed them. Until now Canada’s military was based mostly on conscription, that farmers were excluded from. The problem was there just wasn’t enough people to provide them the manpower they needed, if they lifted the exceptions for farmers, they wouldn’t be able to provide the needed rations. Not to mention, Canada’s independence was on the line. This is where the Soldiers Of the Soil initiative came into play. The government started calling upon the women and youth of Canada to start helping out local farms. Urban students where given room bored, and $15-$30 per month, as well as exceptions from their final exams, and if they worked for three months or more, they were given an ‘honourable discharge’, that guaranteed they would move on to the next grade.
This greatly helped the war effort, which greatly helped Canada receive our Independence. So while I don’t consistently buy local, I do always keep in mind that when you support our local farmers, you’re supporting our ability to be indepent and strong.
Have a great Canada Day!