Avoid Factory Farm Foods (a guide from the Huffington Post)
I am loving this new post from Nicole Hahn Niman in the Huffington Post. I have been against the inhumane, unsafe, and environmentally harmful practices of factory farms for a long time. While I've moved towards organic and whole food eating, I tend to fall into a consumer trance upon entering a grocery store. This post encourages us to be mindful of all our food decisions, to fight the marketing, the trance and the cost of convenience on our bodies, the environment, and animals.
In the post she details her work with Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as an enviromental lawyer working to reform the livestock and poultry sectors in farming to better protect human health and the environment. And from this work, she learns how to fight factory farms in the front lines: her own eating. Her goal, she says, is "I wanted all my food to come from places I would enjoy visiting." She details her journey, from east coast vegetarian to western rancher in a new book I'd love to read called Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms . Some of my friends have made this same journey, from being a vegetarian to eating only local meats (and in some cases farming it themselves).
For meat eaters, she shares how to avoid factory farming for each type of meat.
For lacto-vegetarians there is a list of how to avoid factory farming while buying eggs, cheese and milk.
The labels on various food are also discussed, based on what they mean to buyers, such as hormone free, organic, grass feed, and pasture raised. These labels can be confusing!
What I really enjoyed about this post was a wake up call for me:
"Supermarkets' primary appeal is convenience, and there's no doubt that they are convenient. They are also offering more organic foods these days, which is a good thing. But because their business model is based on large volumes of uniform products, supermarkets rarely carry foods from real, traditional family farms. In my experience, places like Safeway, Albertsons, and Kroger are wastelands for those of us seeking animal products that don't come from factory farms. That's why (other than Trader Joes and Whole Foods, which are better than the rest) I have almost totally stopped frequenting them. The exception to this general rule is for those farms who've joined together to co-operatively process and distribute their products, thus they have sufficient volume to work with major supermarket chains (examples of such companies are Niman Ranch and Organic Valley)."
I would love to read this book and will remember her words next time I am thinking: do I go to the co-op or the grocery store? I'll be on the lookout for this book and would love to review it here. Happy factory farm free eating!
image: from Farm Sanctuary on Flickr.