Educated Eater’s Guide

Originally complied April 2012

What to Do:

 

  • Be an Educated Consumer - Read labels!

    • Buy organic or sustainable food with little or no pesticides

    • Determine where your food came from (country or state of origin)

    • Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

    • Be suspicious of anything w/corn, soy, canola or cottonseed unless “100% organic”

    • GMO sugar beets and alfalfa are a new concern

 

  • Vote with your wallet

    • Support local farms: join a CSA and/or visit local farmers' markets

  • Milton: Farmers Market Details TBD

  • Ride your bike there & get a $2 coupon!

    • Support restaurants and vendors that buy locally produced foods

    • Ask your favorite restaurants and vendors to offer local, sustainable foods

    • Download/use/share this very helpful guide: http://www.nongmoshoppingguide.com/

    • Consider what you put “on” your body too (hair and skin care products)

 

  • Bring it Home

    • Eat seasonally.  Foods in season have more nutritional content and taste better!

    • Cook at home and enjoy dinners as a family

    • Visit local farms, grow a garden and teach children how to garden

 

  • Spread the Word

    • Request places serving food to children stop providing junk food, sodas and sports drinks

    • Encourage classroom/office/other party planners to provide sustainable foods in/on reusable dishware

    • Tell Congress that food safety is important to you

Making Sense of Labeling Terms:

 

  • “100% organic”: all ingredients organic & minimally processed; no pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste/sewage sludge, radiation, GMO or food additives; no growth hormones or routine use of antibiotics

 

  • USDA seal w/o the words “100% organic”: > 95% of content by wt (excluding water and salt) is organic; 5% includes products not available in organic form; no sludge or radiation

 

  • “made w/organic ingredients” (no USDA seal): >70% organic ingredients; no restrictions on other ingredients

 

  • organic ingredients listed on label: contains < 70% organic ingredients


 

Deciphering Produce Codes:

 

In addition to often telling you the country of origin, the first digits of those little produce stickers tell you how the food item was grown:

 

  • Conventional Produce – when the prefix is:

    • 3 = hybrid (nectarines are a hybrid, hybrids aren’t necessarily bad)

    • 4 = conventional inputs (synthetic fertilizers, herbicides & pesticides)

  • Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) 

    • begins with 8 (not often used per request of industry)

  • Organic – five digits beginning with 9

 

  • Example: bananas

    • Conventionally grown: 4011

    • Conventionally grown hybrid: 3011

    • GMO: 84011 (theoretical label)

    • Organic: 94011 (actual label)


 

Suggested Reading:

 

  • Michael Pollan: “Omnivore's Dilemma”, “In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto”

 

  • Eric Schlosser: “Fast Food Nation”

 

  • Marion Nestle: “Food Politics”, “What to Eat”

 

  • Barbara Kingsolver: “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”

 

  • Vandana Shiva: “Stolen Harvest” 

 

  • Robyn O’Brien: “The Unhealthy Truth”

 

  • Mark Bittman’s column in the NY Times

 

  • Frances Moore Lappe & Anna Lappe: “Hope’s Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet”

 

  • Didi Emmons: “Wild Flavors”

 

  • Jo Robinson: “Pasture Perfect The Far-Reaching Benefits of Choosing Meat, Eggs and Dairy Products from Grass-fed Animals” 

 

  • Norman Wirzba, ed: “The Essential Agrarian Reader” 

 

 

  • Upton Sinclair: “The Jungle”

 

  • Jackie Newgent: “Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-carbon Lifestyle” 

 

 

  • Julie Gabriel: “The Green Beauty Guide” (see Appendix B: personal care products to avoid)

 

Suggested Viewing:

 

 

 

 


 

 

  • “Fast Food Nation”

 

  • “Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution”

 

Seed Supply Concerns:

 

 

Allergy and Food Safety Info:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and Fishing (CSFs):

 

 

Some CSA’s convenient to Milton:

 

 

 

 

 

Sustainable/Local Food Options:

 

 

Plastic Container Guidance: