Posted November 25, 2014
Russia’s ban on western imports of food products has strengthened local, organic farms, according to The New York Times article available here. The Daily Meal also published an article available hereand teleSUR here.
Major Russian grocery chains sought out Boris Akimov, the founder of Russia’s farm-to-table movement, desperately seeking immediate supplies.
Akimov and the other 100 farmers associated with LavkaLavka, the organic farm cooperative, produce nowhere near the amounts requested.
“The main thing which the sanctions have already changed is in people’s minds — in government, in business and on the streets, they have started to think more about where their food comes from,” said Mr. Akimov. “If the sanctions give a chance to develop local farmers, to develop sustainable agriculture, it is very good. But I am not sure it will happen.”
Russin citizens have been hit the hardest by the ban with food prices increasing dramatically for consumers and many farmers were left with a surplus of crops, according to The Daily Meal.
Without cheese import from Europe, food producers have been making their own Parmesan, Mozzarella cheese, and Serrano ham, according to teleSUR.
Last month, Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev released a “road map” for agriculture in the country encouraging people to consider local farming.
  
“The aim of our efforts is to increase our own agricultural produce and to reduce Russia’s dependence on food imports,” said Dmitri. However, the map was mostly showed upcoming spaces to watch out for.
Prices for meat and poultry have risen more than 18 percent through October, and dairy products rose by over 15 percent, according to The New York Times.
“Russia cannot provide itself with dairy products, fish, vegetables and other types of food,” said Mikhail Anshakov, the head of the Society for the Protection of Consumer Rights, which calls for food sanctions to be rescinded. “Self-imposed sanctions under these circumstances were madness.”
According to a poll taken at the end of September, 59 percent of Russians believed the sanctions would work to Russia’s economic advantage, however; consumers are worried the agriculture sector is not able to produce enough food for the country, according to teleSUR.
For more information on local food systems, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.