After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, I've been pretty sensitive to this issue already, and have recently switched to grass-fed beef instead of the beef I had been buying. Below is the information for the Wegmans Grass-Fed Beef I have been getting:
Organic Food You Feel Good About Grass-Fed Beef
Our grass-fed beef comes from Angus-Hereford cattle that spend their entire lives roaming open pastures of fresh, lush native grassland. This certified organic beef is raised on small family farms in Uruguay and packaged in the US. Why not buy American? Our merchants looked for the best-tasting, sustainable source of grass-fed and certified organic beef. In the US, supplies are limited and taste was not up to par— probably because during winter, cattle here are fed dried grasses (hay).
I love that instead of simply "grass fed," the label explicitly tells people that the cows spend their entire lives eating grass. With these labels, we have to be very careful, because sometimes even "grass fed" just means that at some point the cows were given grass (often before being moved to feedlots). This label is pretty clear, and that does make me feel pretty good!
Of course, if I'm going to think about where my food comes from, I really should be examining more how I feel about eating meat in general. I'm still not sure how I feel, and I definitely have more thinking to do - but for now, if I'm going to eat meat, I am happy knowing that the animals were humanely treated and fed their natural diet.
Along the same lines, I have been working hard to change the way I eat produce. I've been reading the stickers to try to buy local more often, and am making an effort to buy food when it's in season. An easy way to do that, for me at least, is to join a CSA - so as of April, I will be a proud CSA member!
Some benefits of CSA, or Community-Supported Agriculture, are (from the Local Harvest website):
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from "their" farm – even veggies they've never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
The CSA I signed up for provides food exclusively from local farms that use organic farming practices, which is great - that way, it's a no-brainer for me to eat local, fresh, organic, and in-season food. They also deliver their shares to the building I work in, making it super convenient. I am looking forward to a new food challenge every week when I get my share - it should help me eat more veggies and be more creative in my cooking. For more info on CSAs and to find one near you, visit Local Harvest.
This was definitely a challenge that was in line with the way I've been thinking lately - I'm happy to have a chance to really think about the way I eat, and to share with you all!