What we can do...

to create a healthier "Us" and Food System.

 

Start with you!

You have no idea how powerful your food dollars and spending habits are.  Big Food watches trends very closely.  Realize that power every time you shop for foods.  You might think that just buying organic from a huge chain grocery store is good enough.  You might be surprised.   

What makes the most impact?  The most important step for healthy, just, resilient, regenerative and tasty food is to eat organic food that’s locally grown.  Grow it or help support and grow Farmer’s Markets and CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) by shopping there regularly.  

Then your family

It’s not easy changing the way others eat.  You can control what your kids eat but not your spouse or partner. Hang in there, just keep being an example. The more you quietly improve your health and show how it can benefit others, the more they will catch on in their own time.  Cook and serve good food to your family and friends, they will notice the difference.  Whatever changes you make, start slowly. Take your time to learn about and enjoy new foods, from new places. Farmers markets are a great place to try new varieties of fruits and vegetables. If you garden, try some new varieties. You will find some new favorites.

And remember- we all have our areas of imperfection, whether it’s wine with glyphosate or oils when you are eating out at your not too organic restaurant.  Or maybe you want that occasional pizza from your favorite old time place that you are pretty sure uses CAFO mozzarella. Support each other to incorporate more organic, non-GMO and delicious, local food on your plate.  

Then Move to Your Community And Beyond

  • When you buy organic food that’s in larger grocery stores, read up on the producers by googling their name for any watchdog articles. Cornucopia Institute is an organic watchdog organization doing great work.   If you want to make even more of an impact, call a producer and ask them what practices they do to increase soil health and carbon sequestration.  Be very clear with any meat producers: “Pastured” is not enough as pretty much all cattle are pastured at some point in their lives before they go to the feed lot.  You have to ask if they are “Grain Finished.”  
  • If it’s chickens, you need to ask how many hours a day the chickens spend in the sun, outdoors. They may be “cage free” but how many chickens are in the chicken house?  If it’s dairy, how many times a day are the cows milked and how many hours a day do they spend directly on pasture?  If they advertise their animal products as organic...are they certified? Do they test the feed?  Is it nonGMO Project verified?    
  • If you currently eat a processed food product that isn’t organic, call the company and tell them you love their product, you’ve bought it for ages but that you are changing your diet to organic. Tell them you will start buying their product again when they have an organic version and to please let you know so you can spread the word about it.
  • Ask your farmer’s market farmers if they are USDA or state certified (CCOF, Tilth) organic. If they aren’t, ask them why.  Ask them what do they use for fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, any sprays or amendments.  Ask them if they would consider changing the way they grow their products so you can be one of their customers. If they say it’s too hard and take too long to get certified, remind them that at farmer’s markets, if people trust they are not using conventional chemicals and are farming regeneratively they’ll support the premium pricing more.  Be polite and make sure they understand that you care and want to support them.
  • Start reading your local newspaper and pay more attention to what food/gardening/ag issues your local governments (city or county) are considering.  Comment to make sure they hear from those of us who want strong local food systems to thrive.
  • Write letters to the editor about your favorite food issues. People read them and it makes a difference, plus it can get a food discussion going in the community.
  • Learn more about permaculture and biodynamic gardening and farming.
  • Support city measures that create incentives for community and school gardens

Making change at the county and state level

Make calls or sign petitions to your local, state or national governing bodies when there is a potential policy that will:
  • Support organic farmers
  • Threaten organic standards
  • Support urban farming- animals, bees, front yard gardens
  • Support local food systems- funding for regional hubs, create regional food infrastructure
  • Create tax incentives for urban farming, urban food forests
  • Create funding or tax incentives for community gardens

Making Change at the County and State Level

Make calls or sign petitions to your local, state or national governing bodies when there is a potential policy that will:
  • Support organic farmers
  • Threaten organic standards
  • Support urban farming- animals, bees, front yard gardens
  • Support local food systems- funding for regional hubs, create regional food infrastructure
  • Create tax incentives for urban farming, urban food forests
  • Create funding or tax incentives for community gardens

What We Can Do to Achieve Resilient Local Food Systems

  • Join us to and devote your energy to make your local and regional food system strong and resilient.
  • Then start a local chapter of the Good Food Brigade in your community- Manual Coming Soon!
  • Start your own garden. Confused about how to get started? Try pots first. Then graduate to raised bed. Or take a deep dive and go online and learn on YouTube.  Great basics can be learned from Curtis Stone, Stacy Murphy, Marjory Wildcraft and more.  They also offer online or in person trainings when you are ready to go bigger.  
  • Have a block party and talk to your neighbors about starting a neighborhood garden in your yards so that you can share the goodness and create more community in your ‘hood.  manual
  • Do your local city council, homeowners association or county have restrictive laws on growing gardens?  If so, then change those laws.  How to learn about what’s going on in your community- Then learn how to change laws that prohibit good healthy food growing! See More Here
  • Start a community Garden- manual coming soon
  • Start a School garden- manual coming soon
  • Do a local “All things Local Food Festival” -manual coming soon
  • Educate your community on the wonders of farmers markets.  Get the converted to shop there more and get the nonchoir to start shopping there    You can speak at clubs, groups, Manual coming soon
  • Hold cooking classes so folks know how to eat the local produce they grow and/or buy at their local farmer’s markets    How to hold a cooking class manual coming soon
  • Show a movie - manual coming soon

What We Can Do to Achieve Regenerative Food for Yourself, Your Community and the World

Regenerative agriculture is an approach to food and farming systems that regenerates topsoil and increases biodiversity now and long into the future. Which means agriculture that feeds our soil instead of depleting it – and will grow healthy crops year after year.

Big Food only moves when we switch our buying habits.                  GFB_Shiva_quote_regen.png

The number one, fastest way to change our food system to a regenerative one is:               

  1. Change your relationship to meat and other animal products.  Eat meat as a condiment instead of the largest part of the meal.
  2. Eat ONLY organic produce and grains from farmers who focus on regenerating the soil.  
  • Movies to watch in home or do a community screening
  • Turn your yard into an organic, regenerative food garden
  • Start an organic school or community garden
  • Respectfully talk to your farmers market farmers about their regenerative practices
  • Invite a Regenerative Ag Expert to give a talk in your community.
  • Take a few classes on Regenerative Soil practices and become the your community’s cheerleader/beginning expert so they can learn more about the wonders of the soil.

What We Can Do to Eat and Promote Justly Produced Food

What you can do to create a more just food system locally, nationally and globally 

  • Food Industry Worker Support
  • Animal Rights-
    • When visiting your local butcher, only buy 100% pasture raised.  Let them know you want to support their business but will not buy CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) raised animal products. 
    • When you go to restaurants, ask if the animal products are pasture raised for from a CAFO. It’ll be hard, but if it’s CAFO, don’t order it. If your friends ask about why you are doing what you are doing, then it’s a great time to help them understand where their meat is coming from.
    • Get involved in your local animal rights group, if there is one. If there isn’t one, maybe you can create a chapter in your community. 
    • Learn more:
      *Disclaimer- Veganism is a very passionate subject for many who choose that diet.  We do not advocate for one diet over the other if it is in alignment with our Four Pillars of Good Food- it’s healthy, just, regenerative and resilient.  We encourage people to affirm their diet choices and not push or be rude about other choices.  

      Most of the movies made about Factory Farms are done so with the intent of encouraging you to become a vegan. That is not our intent here.  We believe that animals are an integral part of many peoples’ nutrition and can be raised in happy and healthy ways that benefit the planet and aren’t cruel to the animals. 

      With that disclaimer in mind, here are a few beginning movies available online that will give you more information on factory farming:
    • List of Documentaries about Animals, Food and Factory Farming
    • If you find animals to be your particular soft spot, you might want to volunteer with or at least keep up on current news by subscribing via one or more of the organizations mentioned in this article   
    • Movie: The Meatrix 
  • Access to Food
    • Some communities are creating food co-ops to open stores that are owned by them, instead of having to rely on large, inflexible corporations that will only build in higher income areas.
    • Create a mobile fresh food business out of your car or van!  Communities are successfully bringing the healthy food to eaters instead of eaters having to travel to stores.
    • Set up a cooperative that gleans leftover food from stores and restaurants.  
    • Put up a table to sell healthy food at a bus stop.
    • Business solutions in Atlanta.  A grocery store owner noticed that his customers weren’t buying vegetables or fruits. So instead of discontinuing them, he expanded the produce section, planted a community garden and held cooking classes.  Sales skyrocketed and folks got healthy food! 
    • Start and maintain a community garden.  Complicated, but so rewarding.  
    • Live in a rural food desert? Find some creative solutions that one town in Arizona started to alleviate the problem  like bringing food to bingo games, planting backyard gardens for free to those who promised to water and weed them.They’re now talking about opening a co-op.
    • Check to see if you live in a government designated food desert. If you do, your community will qualify for grants.
  • Food Waste- See if there are any gleaner groups in your area. If there are some, join. If not consider starting one.

What We Can Do to Eat GMO Free Food

Most importantly...decrease the number of GMO foods you and your family eat Set your goal and take your time.  Start by using different oils.  No more canola.  After that….slowly change your eating and buying habits. The best way to know if you are avoiding GMOs is via the organic label and the NonGMO Project label.
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The best option is to Grow your own food using heirloom seeds.  This is the BEST way to know what you are eating and how it was grown. 
We know that many don’t have neither the interest or time to grow your own.  So an equally good and important option is to buy organic food direct from your farmer.  If you are at a Farmers Market, be sure to ask your farmer if they grow non-GMO sweet corn, zucchini, and what they feed their animals.  Best feed options are fully pastured.  But if they supplement with feed, you want to be sure that the feed is organic at a minimum.  
Other ways to learn more about ways to learn more and avoiding GMOs-
  • Visit Institute for Responsible Technology to find out more about GMOs and join their Tipping Point Network to become a GMO expert! 
  • Learn about the NonGMO Project (see butterfly label above) and buy the products that have their label on them.  It means the food has been tested.  Support companies that care enough to get the certification. 
  • Learn more about the issues by sharing a movie with friends or get a community screening with a panel or speaker after the movie.
  • Read "Seedy Business" a report by US Right To Know to learn more about the multinational chemical industry PR campaign to confuse people.  
  • Visit your local state, federal and national elected officials (and/or their staff as they make most of the decisions).  Keep them informed as to what’s really going on out there in GMO Land.  We’ll have manuals for how to most effectively visit them soon.
  • Donate to your local good food groups
  • Ask your restaurants if they use canola and/or corn oil (two of the high risk, highly contaminated GMO foods).  If they do, ask that they use coconut oil, safflower oil for cooking your food and 100% olive oil for your cold dishes. Then ask your friends to do the same. 
  • Start a FB page or webpage for local restaurants that are farm to table, non-GMO, organic, safe places to eat in your town. Call the restaurants, ask them what they use for ingredients.  Let them know you want to advertise Good, Local Food practices.  Ask folks who like your page to tell the restaurants they go there because of the page. As word travels, these restaurants will get better, and other eateries will want to join in.
  • Tell one person you know about GMOs 
  • Wear a GMO Free USA tshirt
  • Hand out GMO info flyers in front of stores. 
  • Do a walking tour of your local grocery store to educate others about food labels and how to find GMOs
  • Do a GMO Free potluck to inform folks where they are.  Give them parameters so they educate themselves for the meal before coming, then have a short discussion about it during or after the meal. 

What We Can Do to Eat Food that is Free From Additives and Chemicals

  • Educate yourself to become a critical thinker when reading about good food in the mainstream media.   Watch out for industry funded junk science that tries to tell you fake food is better than real food.  Don’t buy their BS and don’t buy their products.    
  • Show a movie in your community to raise awareness about corporate food. There are tons of great films, but here is a start.
  •  It’s not just chemicals in foods that are hurting us.  If we don’t also shift our body care products, cleaning products, plastic consumption, we’re just running around in circles by re-poisoning ourselves everywhere else.  It’s another slow and steady, but important, project that helps our planet, us, the animals and ecosystems.
  • Learn more here-
  • What to do?  Buy organic body products. If you cannot affort them, google “DIY skin lotion”, DIY toothpaste, DIY deodorant.  You’ll be surprised at all the information and help out there to live a less toxic life.