By Rachel Stark 
BELLEVILLE – Saving the environment can be as easy as supporting the local food around you.
The annual eastern Ontario local food  conference was held Nov. 22 – 23 in Belleville, inspiring people to change the way they look at the production and distribution of food.
The more demand there is for local food, the more agriculture can thrive in a community. This helps reduce global challenges such as food waste caused by retail corporations and loss of green land. The more communities that take part in the mission of supporting local foods, the more the environment can be sustained. The presentations at the conference promoted these ideas.
The conference also featured a bus tour of local food businesses on Tuesday, followed by guest speakers  at Maranatha church on Wednesday.
Author and award-winning journalist Sarah Elton  was the keynote speaker. Based on her years of food research, she spoke about how communities can help prevent global challenges.
“We need to broaden our perspective from just the food, just the farmer’s field, and start thinking about food in terms of the whole ecosystem, and the whole biosphere, and our earth,” she said. By having this mindset, Elton said she believes it’s the best starting point to making food more sustainable.
Each year the conference is focused on a certain mission, this year being food resilience. Resilience, in this instance, refers to sustainable agriculture.
Elton also said that the need to improve the way the public views the food consumption is more necessary than ever.
“The choices we make for what we eat has an impact on the environment,” she said. “Climate change has just made that all the more urgent and more important for us to pay attention to because our future food security and future well-being is at stake.”
The local food conference began in 2013, and is planned to be continued each year.