A simple trip to the grocery store can be a little confusing these days. It seems every package of meat, every pile of potatoes, every gallon of milk has some kind of label declaring it healthier and more environmentally friendly than the next display.
Exactly what does “organic” mean, some must wonder. How about “eco-friendly?” How does a “free range” chicken differ from a “cage-free” chicken? Or does it?
What is a CAFO? An AFO? What is “grass fed” from “grain finished?” Do you ever fear that some of these stickers are just slapped on a package of hamburger so sellers can jack up the price per pound?
In this age of “country of origin” labels and other USDA, FDA, EPA regulations, every shopper should be armed with the answers to these questions and many more. An informed shopper is a smart shopper; maybe even a healthier and more financially responsible shopper.
If this resonates with you, I would like to refer you to a very helpful Web site called Sustainable Table. Now, I will not pretend that Sustainable Table doesn’t have an agenda. Judging by the name, you can pretty much tell that they are in favor of environmentally-friendly, sustainable agricultural methods. But the resources on their site are worth a look, particularly everything found under the “shop sustainable” tab.
There, you will find a lengthy glossary with definitions of all the buzz words I mentioned above, as well as printable shopping guides that you can take with you to the grocery store to help answer any questions that may pop up there. And if you are a slow food advocate, you can even print out little cards to leave at your favorite stores and restaurants as a gentle hint that they should consider more environmentally sound practices.
Check it out. It might tell you the difference between a CAFO and an AFO.