Earlier this month Take Action shared info on confusing food labels. Many of the labels really don’t mean anything. One example of this can be found on ‘cage-free’ eggs. Cage-free is often seen on eggs which makes you think these chickens are living a nice happy life outside, but this is often not the case. Cage-free just means they aren’t in smaller cages, however they are still likely indoors in very cramped quarters. Often there are so many chickens in such a small area they have to cut their beaks to keep them from hurting each other.
Some of the labels do carry weight, such as Fair Trade, which has third-party verification and honest standards. But it’s hard to know which labels we can trust and which we can’t. The article helps with some of that, but there are even more labels than what they covered. It can be downright overwhelming!
One great way we can skip the stress of all the labels is to buy local. With local food you can build a relationship with the producers of your food. You can go to the farmer’s market and chat with the person that grew or raised you food, and ask them questions about how the food was produced. For example, you can also shop at stores like Native Roots Market in Oklahoma City. The staff can often answer your questions and if they can’t they can tell you where it came from so you can contact the producer.
Another wonderful way to get to know your food is to join the Oklahoma Food Coop. The Oklahoma Food Coop only sells local products and on their website each item lists the producer. Since you know who produced the food you can contact them if you have any questions. And often you don’t have to contact them because on their producer page on the website they often list a lot of great information on how the food is raised.
I personally choose to only eat meat if I know how it was raised, and this is almost impossible to do shopping in a big box store. But because I’m a member of the Oklahoma Food Coop I was able to contact a local rancher to find out how they raised their meat. I asked several questions and all were answered within the day. The producer was happy to share and grateful for my email and interest in their farm. Farmers are passionate about their products and they want to talk about them, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and get to know your food!
Photo credits: Ian S2010