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Know Whatís In Your Food: Buy Local

Know Whatís In Your Food: Buy Local

In the past decade, the stories about food recalls seem endless and have included tainted eggs, peanut butter, ground beef and even spinach. And, just last week, a case of ďatypicalĒ BSE (Mad Cow Disease) found in a dairy cow in Central California has been all over the news.

Both the USDA and the CDFA (California Department of Food and agriculture) have repeatedly assured the public that our food supply is safe, that this animal was never intended to enter the food supply, and that you canít get BSE from milk, and that its detection is in fact, proof that the surveillance programs are working.

But, if you are like me and just donít trust that it is safe, and are tired of not having food labeled or identified as to where it comes from, whatís in it, and how it is produced when you shop at the super market, then you might consider changing the way you eat and working towards changing our food system.

Thatís what a citizenís group in California is doing; they are working towards getting an initiative on the ballot calling for the labeling of genetically engineered foods in the state.

While having food sold in retail outlets labeled is important, to me the most important way we can have control over what we eat is by eating as locally as possible.

As I have written about numerous times here on Care2, there are many benefits to buying and eating locally grown food. It tastes better and is fresher, cuts down on transportation helping to protect the environment, and in the event that the worst does happen, it is much easier to identify the source of contamination from a local source.

Keeping your money in your own community makes a difference to local economies. In turn, by supporting the local economy you can support local food systems and local farmers, keeping them in business and preserving farmland.

An example of this comes from yet another group of Californians. They are seeking a way to support the most local of economies, home based food businesses. They have had success in getting Assembly Member Mike Gatto to introduce the California Homemade Food Act (AB 1616) to allow for the legal sale of safe homemade food products like baked goods, jams, and pickles. It unanimously passed the Assembly Committee on Health on April 17 and is moving forward.

If you arenít sure where to find local food near you, check out Local Harvest or the Eat Well Guide.

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Earth Day, Environment, Food, Green, Nature, ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

60 comments

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6:02PM PDT on May 10, 2012

Hear, hear!!!

1:34PM PDT on May 9, 2012

I am more concerned with HIGH FRUCTOSE CORNSYRUP, real raw honey and non GMO Foods. I recently heard that HFC makes you hungrier, I want raw Honey from CA because it works on my allergies. I fear GMO because they don't know what it will do to us over the long term. Few of you may remember when they use to give chickens and turkey a hormone shot to improve on the amount of breast meat. FDA approved that which lasted for about 5 years until they found our ingesting the hormone was not good for us ( miscarriages, messed up fingers and toes etc) and forced them to stop using it. Certain fruits if picked and shipped properly can take a 1500 mile journey and still be fine to eat and nutritious but only an honest farmer will tell you which ones. Stop the super sized portions and serve the food on smaller plates to make us THINK we are still getting a lot of food. Saves our waist lines and them money. When I have those days when I seem to eat ALL DAY, I eat nothing but plates of steamed veggies, satisfies my urge but doesn't add the pounds

8:21PM PDT on May 7, 2012

I always shop as local as possible and buy from farmers markets and stores that sell locally produced foods. The FDA has been proved wrong too many times.

8:20PM PDT on May 7, 2012

I always shop as local as possible and buy from farmers markets and stores that sell locally produced foods. The FDA has been proved wrong too many times.

8:20PM PDT on May 7, 2012

I always shop as local as possible and buy from farmers markets and stores that sell locally produced foods. The FDA has been proved wrong too many times.

8:10PM PDT on May 7, 2012

I always shop as local as possible and buy from farmers markets and stores that sell locally produced foods. The FDA has been proved wrong too many times.

2:07PM PDT on May 7, 2012

An issue I've rarely heard discussed is the difference in nutritional value of fresh, local foods and foods that have traveled 1500+ miles for who knows how long field to table. In looking at the obesity epidemic, there is some evidence to suggest that poor nutrition of foods contributes to a stronger appetite and therefore obesity. There haven't been any studies, that I know of, showing that such a connection exists, but it would make another argument for local foods.

5:49AM PDT on May 7, 2012

I am not complaining about where we get our produce from but the lies and deceit involved. If I know they were bought for resale, came from China or Panama, is a GMO product or not are some of the questions I have before I put my money down. It is my choice if I want to buy them anyway or get frozen or canned which often can't answer the questions either. I just want the truth. Wanting truth has impeded me in many ways in all areas of my life but I still look for it and reward it with my dollars , respect and loyalty.. If they lie to me about my food, they will lie to me about something else that is even more important. I see no reason to lie except that it will help line their pockets and I don't accept that from anyone. I will always challenge liars because they take more than my money. It is OK to avoid the issue which still gives me a choice but don't lie to me. In my circle it means you don't think I am worthy of being told the truth. I don't care that you may lie to others but NOT to me and especially to get my money. If I decide not to trade with you or call you friend it will be because you lied. I might even decide to buy from them once the truth iis known and I really want what they have but that is MY choice. I forgive people all the time but I have a memory like an elephant.

9:42PM PDT on May 6, 2012

I buy local as much as possible, but during the winter its really not possible. Unless I want to live on root vegetables left over from the last harvest. I buy from the farmer's market and our local co-op, but there are things that are just not local to my region. Lemons, grapefruit, coconut oil, etc. I buy about 95% organic, and I will choose organic over local. Just because something is local, doesn't mean it is better. For example, if a local farmer was growing and selling GMO corn, should I buy it over organic corn imported from another state? No way!

I also grow my own veggies and berries, but while I don't live in a cold climate, summers here are cool and can be wet, so it is limited what I can plant. I feel that I do as much as I can, but I don't have a farm, and can't store up enough local food to last me through the winter.

1:39PM PDT on May 6, 2012

Imagine having to give up garlic because the supermarkets here have been selling garlic imported from China, where else? I've been told the farmers here don't plant enough because it's cheaper to import, isn't that nice?!
And to enjoy strawberries I buy organic strawberry juice imported from Turkey!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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