Have you seen the new grocery store advertising promotion called Grown Close To Home?

I have, and I like it. It’s clever. In the store, it’s remarkably simple, distinguished by bold signage emphasizing the words Grown and Home, while minimizing Close and To. My mind’s eye tends to turn these words over and read Home Grown, which may be the campaign creator’s intent. If so, it’s effective at making you think what you’re buying is homegrown, whatever that means.

I think this is an attempt to capitalize on consumers’ zeal for local food, without actually using the L word.

And that’s good business. Local food has taken on a life of its own. Farmers’ Markets Ontario says 14 new markets opened in the province this year, and while hard numbers aren’t in yet, shopper traffic appears to be up. Nothing says local food like farmers’ markets.

I’ve said before I support local food. I question some of the claims, including the implication that anything not grown within 100 miles of home is inferior or damages the environment. But there’s definitely a perception that local food is better, and right now, as fresh fruit and vegetables are coming off close-to-home fields and orchards and the taste is incredible, it’s tough to refute the suggestion that local is better.

I write about the close-to-home theme in this week’s Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury.

The photo below of a cherry farmer at the Vineland Coop in Jordan Station is from the Grown Close To Home website.