December 23, 2015 10:39 pm
Updated: December 24, 2015 3:47 am

Food prices in B.C. climb thanks to severe weather, low Canadian dollar

WATCH: The cost of veggies soared this year thanks to Canada's low dollar and the drought in California. As Nadia Stewart reports, food prices are expected to rise even more in 2016.

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If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, you may have an excuse to keep them off the dinner table. The cost of the California-grown veggie is climbing and, according to local farmers, cauliflower and broccoli will be costing you more too.

“Cauliflower at this time of the year has been more of an issue with heavy rainfall in the growing area. Brussels sprouts were definitely affected and that’s a similar issue,” said Harvey Snow, president of Snow Farms Ltd. in Ladner.

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Brace yourselves: It’s an issue we’ll be dealing with more in 2016. Recent agricultural forecasts from the University of Guelph point towards the price of food climbing in the year ahead–by as much as four per cent.

READ MORE: Canadian grocery prices will continue to skyrocket next year

“Which may not seem like a large amount, but when you think about that in the context of global food insecurity and food insecurity for Canadians, it actually can make a significant difference in people’s daily lives,” said Hannah Whittman with UBC’s Centre for Sustainable Food Systems.

According to the Food Institute’s 2016 forecast, the average Canadian household could spend as much as $345 more on food in the year ahead, bringing the total amount of money spent on groceries and at restaurants to $8,631 for the year. Factor in the high cost of living in Metro Vancouver, combined with mounting consumer debt and the outlook could turn anyone’s stomach.

Whittman and others said severe weather conditions in places like California and the exchange rate are two key factors as more than 80 per cent of the fruits and vegetables we eat in this province are imported.

READ MORE: Meat no longer leading supermarket prices higher—it’s veggies

“The extent to which we can grow our home agricultural economy, that should help to mitigate a little bit of the price volatility that we see,” Whittman said.

In other words, buy local. It’s a philosophy, not surprisingly, Snow endorses.

“We’re gonna have to start producing a lot of things that we quit producing in the last number of years because the cheap imports are no longer going to be there,” said Snow.

WATCH: Rising food prices to cost Canadian households hundreds of dollars more

© 2015 Shaw Media

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