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Seed sales tax can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, experts and growers say

Nicola Moore says it was the pandemic that caused the interest in food production.

"My parents had a garden all my life," she said. "I didn't put them together until I had my own family. Then, when I experienced a pandemic, I think it was 2020. I'm scared and how to eat. I didn't know. My family has breakfast, lunch and supper every day.

"And, as you know, there is a long line in the grocery store and I'm confident about it. There wasn't, so I wondered how I could help my family, and it was learning how to grow my own food. " 

Moore was a beet, a bean, I grow carrots, cucumbers, pea, radish, lettuce, onions, peppers and tomatoes at home in Hamilton, Ontario. .. , And with a nearby community assignment. 

"Two years of steady learning, horticulture and research, now my next level is canning and preservation during the winter."

Moore , Says saving is important. However, while both seeds and seedlings purchased to plant gardens are subject to state and federal sales taxes, food grown from the same seeds is imported into Canada or into long-distance cities. What was carried by truck was not .

"Recent statistics show that Canada's horticultural rate is always high," said Sylvain Charlebois, director of science at the Agricultural Food Analysis Institute at Dalhousie University. increase.

"People want to grow more food. For different reasons. One is to be proud of the food they grow. They are more for themselves. They want better quality. They want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in our food system. But many citizens actually make money. I want to grow food to save money. Taxes, baby lettuce grown in Canada for planting in home gardens are taxed.

Canadian carbon tax is all Although not popular in the region, people with a large carbon footprint will be penalized.

However, the Canadian consumption tax system for food is the opposite, for people with a large footprint. Offers tax incentives, taxes those who reduce , and economists rely on "


Canada for significant environmental costs It relies heavily on fruits and vegetables imported from abroad.

"Carbon footprint is very important," Char said. "This is the way we feed ourselves. We truck things." 

Due to the Canadian climate, all food from places like California and Mexico Although difficult to replace, Charles Bois says skilled growers can time planting and harvesting to ripen different foods at different times of spring. Summer and autumn. 

"When I go to the garden and put seeds, there is no carbon dioxide emissions," Moore said. "Imagine a truck or truck or fleet driving from California to Ontario."

Most Canadians rely on supermarkets and grocery stores all year round. Even during the summer, when many of the produce is from Canada, it still comes from commercial producers using fertilizers that release large amounts of nitrous oxide. Agriculture accounts for about one-tenth of Canada's total emissions, and much of its food is trucked over long distances.

According to the survey,food consumed in North America travels an average of 1,500 km or more before reaching the dinner plate.

Food inflation, shortened shelves Lifespan

Due to recent supply chain problems, fruit and vegetable prices have risen by about 10%annually, It's three times faster. Than the increase in hourly wages. Supply chain delays have also caused a lesser-known "shelf relationship" phenomenon.

"Many products that reach grocery stores aren't as fresh as they used to be," says Charlebois. "You will buy onions, carrots and tomatoes that are a little softer than usual. And instead of taking 7 days to eat a particular produce, you only have 2 days. And if you don't eat it, you have to throw it. Hmm. Over there. "

" Since the start of COVID, it has occurred more frequently due to labor problems, COVID restrictions, etc. It takes time to move something in water or land, There is more waste. ”

As a grower who grows plants specifically for seeds, Catherine Wallenberg has seen growing interest in planting gardens. 

Catherine Warenberg, a grower who grows seed-only plants, has sampled products subject to sales tax in Canada. It is on display. "When I started retailing and looked at how the product worked, I was very surprised to find that it was, in fact, a taxable product," she said. (CBC)

She sows lettuce, kale and other plants in a greenhouse in Farrelton, Quebec, sifts them clean and sells them under the Northern Seed label. ..

"When I started retailing, when I looked at how a product worked, I was very surprised to find that it was, in fact, a taxable product. I thought it was my hobby to grow food because once the produce was grown, it wouldn't be taxed. ”

At least one state, British Columbia, imposes taxes on either seeds or plant stocks. I have not. 

The federal government has recently abolished sales tax on both women's hygiene products and face masks, but states that it has no plans to change the food tax system.

High threshold

"Farmers pay GST to a list of selected key items used in agricultural activities, including bulk purchases of seeds used in food production. No, "Adrienne Vaupshas, ​​the Treasury Department, told CBC News.

Federal tax on seeds is purchased incommercial quantities(at least 2,500 small seeds like lettuce, or 5 kg large seeds like beans and corn) Exempt only farmers. "It's a fairly expensive horizontal bar," says Warenberg. "For example, even some people who are producers and horticultural farmers will not meet that threshold. Therefore, they may end up paying taxes on seeds."

Garden farmers can claim these taxes at the end of the year, but Warenberg customers cannot.

"It's a shame that I'm not motivated to grow up and eat the locals, and no one is as good as going straight out of the garden."

Many Reasons to Grow

Moore says he grows food for reasons that exceed cost. 

"I think engaging children in this process is a great way to teach them how your food actually grows from seeds. Today, many of our kids go to grocery stores. They will grab apples and peaches, and they don't even think it came from a tree. "

Warren Berg states that customers have similar motives. "Because it's delicious, you can save money, and you can enjoy it outside with your kids."

Taxes that discriminate against growers are unlikely to change that equation in most cases, but Charlesbois says that this system does more than just eliminate injustice, it actually tells people. They say they can encourage them to do good things for the environment. For their health, and even for national food security and trade balance. 

"From a fiscal policy perspective, I'm not sure if we did a good job to make sure there is total consistency here."

"The attraction in recent years has been the use of taxes to prevent behavior, but in reality, taxes are a tool for citizens to do certain things they want, such as growing food as they really are. I've never thought about making more food at home. ”