The 2011 version of Thanksgiving’s weekend dinner was a lot different than last year’s model, whether you enjoyed it at home or had it served in a restaurant. This year food is, in general, more cherished, more expensive and, interestingly, viewed with more suspicion and confusion than ever.

Consumers are continuing their love affair with local food. As a movement, it’s more appreciated and better organized than it was even a year ago. A shining example is the Guelph-Wellington Taste Real program’s “Farmalicious” initiative. Farmalicious may also underline that local food is not, by definition, cheap food. The Canadian Restaurant and Food Services Association says that across the board, menu prices have risen nearly three per cent over the past year. Local food production is subject to the same pressures as non-local food, however you define it.

And over the past year, the pressures have been significant.

Bad weather, rising fuel prices and global demand have all pushed food prices at grocery stores up about three per cent higher than they were last Thanksgiving.

I write about these and other changes in my Urban Cowboy column in the Guelph Mercury. The illustration here is from St. Stephen’s Anglican Church website.