Finding humane food options
The modern consumer is faced with a vast array of products and goods to consider as they shop for themselves and loved ones. Finding humane food products can be daunting, especially since many products have misleading labels or food sources may not publicly disclose their products' origins. Being a conscientious consumer takes a bit of effort, but FACT has resources to help you bring home humanely raised food.
Shopping at the grocery store
It can be difficult to discern what food in your local aisles was raised humanely, and without unnecessary antibiotics and known toxins. Food labels can be helpful and informative, or obtuse and even deliberately misleading. FACT recommends purchasing products that have third party verified labels (feel free to print and use our Pocket Guide to Labels), which means that a credible outside source has audited the farm to make sure it follows the practices implied by the label. Unverified labels often contain dubious or even misleading claims and are not independently verified. Learn more about verified and unverified labels to help you shop next time.
Supporting a local CSA
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs are an excellent option for purchasing local food that also fosters a direct relationship between you, the consumer, with the producer of your food. Finding a local CSA can be easy and straightforward, as well as learning more about what to look for when subscribing to a CSA. Feel free to ask questions of any CSA that you are considering so that you make an informed decision that works best for your family. Please note that CSAs are not usually equipped to provide you and your family with all the food items you need, as many products are seasonal. Meat CSAs are becoming more popular, and give you the opportunity to directly inquire to the farmer how your meat was raised.
Dining out humanely
How a restaurant sources its food--much like at the grocery store--can seem impossible to determine. However, more restaurants are realizing that consumers like you expect to know where the food came from prior to being on your plate. Online resources such as the Green Restaurant Association, the Eat Well Guide, and Local Harvest can help you determine what local restaurants are humane, sustainable, and organic. Also ask your server about the restaurant's sourcing, and what farms they purchase ingredients from. Reviewing a restaurant's farm sources may assist you in making humane choices when you eat out, especially if the farm has certifications that you can research (Please review what food labels and their related certifications that FACT recommends).
Shopping Humanely at the farmers' market
Farmers' Markets are an excellent opportunity for you to directly connect with farmers and learn more about the products you purchase while supporting independent family farms. FACT recommends that you support farmers directly, and engage with them to learn more about your food. Consider asking farmers at area markets:
- Do your animals have access to open pasture?
- What do you feed your animals?
- Do you use antibiotics, hormones, or any growth promoters?
- Is your farm certified? If so, what certification(s)?
Asking these important questions helps you make the best food decisions.