Sourcing Nutrient Dense, Clean Healthy Food

One of our local Chapter’s goals is to help people find clean healthy non-GMO nutrient-dense food by connecting local people with local area farmers producing such foods as raw milk, butter and cream, grass-fed meat, and pastured poultry and eggs.  To create a resilient economy we need a strong local food movement.

Find Local Nevada County Grown Products

Nevada County Grown is a local non-profit organization created to promote local farmers and ranchers and to strengthen the connection between Nevada County farming and ranching and the consumer. Nevada County Grown supplies the following information on their webs

There are many opportunities available for you to enjoy locally-grown food products.  Click on the Nevada County Farm Guide Nevada County for information on Farms and Ranches.

Farm  Guide — View or download the current Farm Guide.

Get to Know Your Farmer

Asking questions is the best way to ensure that you’re purchasing sustainably raised, non-GMO, healthful foods and supporting sustainable farmers. Here are some questions to get you started:

IS YOUR FARM CERTIFIED ORGANIC? IF NOT, DO YOU USE ORGANIC PROCESSES?

Organic agriculture uses farming practices that minimize pesticide use, build healthy soil and are free of genetically modified components, hormones and antibiotics. Organic farmers, ranchers and food processing facilities must follow standards established by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), to label and market their products as USDA Organic. For livestock, this includes animal health and welfare standards. Some food producers may decide that USDA Organic certification is not worth it, because of cost or other reasons, even though they follow organic standards and beyond.

ARE YOUR ANIMALS RAISED ON PASTURE?

At the heart of sustainable livestock production is the well-managed pasture, forest or rangeland, where animals can move and graze freely. Raising livestock on pasture is labor intensive and expensive, from pasture and farm management to securing reliable processing facilities — which means that the resulting meat, milk or eggs are more expensive, too.

DO YOU FEED YOUR COWS ANYTHING BESIDES GRASS AND HAY?

Cattle are ruminants and graze on grass and other forages (plants that grow alongside grasses). However, no grass grows in feedlots. The diet of feedlot cattle primarily consists of grains. Their diets can also include animal byproducts or byproducts from the food system, such as candy, orange pulp from juice factories, cookie crumbs and other bakery waste. Grain increases the acidity of the digestive tract, a condition called acidosis, which causes physical discomfort, intestinal damage, dehydration, liver abscesses and even death.

HOW ARE YOUR COWS FINISHED?

Finishing is the process an animal goes through as it’s readied for slaughter. If an animal is finished on pasture, it eats only grasses and hay up until its slaughter and is 100 percent pastured/grassfed. If an animal is finished on grain, it means that for a certain amount of time before processing, it was fed grain. The most common grain used is corn, which is the hardest for cows to digest.

WHAT DO YOU FEED YOUR CHICKENS/TURKEYS?

Sustainable poultry are raised on pasture and eat grasses, greens, grains and insects; whereas factory farmed poultry may be fed feathers, blood, other animal byproducts and manure, as well as grain, mineral and vitamin supplements, arsenic and antibiotics.

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOUR ANIMALS SPEND OUTDOORS EACH DAY?

Claims about “access” to outdoors might be misleading, because what some companies may mean by access is a small opening onto a concrete patio. Find out if the animals go outside onto fields or pasture, and ask how much time each day the animals spend there. There’s a big difference between four minutes and four hours.

ARE YOUR ANIMALS EVER GIVEN ANTIBIOTICS?

The non-therapeutic use of antibiotics by the modern food animal industry is now responsible for the emergence of drug-resistant bacteria that pose a grave threat to public health. About 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the US are administered to livestock, and primarily to prevent disease, rather than to treat infection. By choosing to purchase products from animals that are never given non-therapeutic antibiotics you are helping to prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains.

WHICH PEST CONTROL METHODS DO YOU USE ON YOUR FARM?

Insecticides (bug killers), herbicides (weed killers) and fungicides (fungus killers) are all pesticides. They are administered in great quantities in industrial agriculture and have negative implications for both environmental and human health. Many of the pesticides used today are taken up by roots and distributed throughout the plant. Organic farmers and those who use Integrated Pest Management manage to protect their crops from insects without using pesticides, or with extremely limited use.

Questions to Ask a Beef, Lamb or Goat Farmer

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