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Acadiana Lifestyle

Health Notes - Healthy Eating

09/05/2017 07:00AM ● By Robert Frey

Healthy Eating

by Ellen S. Mullen M.D.

Farm to Table, Farm to Fork, GMO, Sustainable Farming. These seem to be the new buzz words for the foods we are eating. What do these terms mean?  Farm to Table or Farm to Fork simply means that the chef knows the farm or ranch where the food is coming from and it is bought directly from the supplier.  Typically, this would mean that the food is produced locally. In Louisiana, with our overabundance of insects and weeds, this oftentimes means pesticides and fertilizers are used to grow the food. Therefore, Farm to Table does not always mean organically grown foods. By definition, organic foods are grown without using synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Organically grown food must also be grown on land that has not been exposed to synthetic fertilizers or pesticides for at least three years. However organic fertilizers or pesticides may be used. In addition, beef can only be called organic if it is fed grain or grass that is grown on land that has not been exposed to pesticides or fertilizers for three years. Cows that are raised organically are also not vaccinated, given hormones or antibiotics. So what about genetically modified foods (GMO)? These are foods or animals that are modified by changing their genetic makeup using the genes of another species. This is done, in general, to increase production or enhance growth. In this way less land is required to grow more crops. However, this creates food that would not occur naturally. Lastly, sustainable farming means that the farmer or rancher is not depleting the natural resources of the land. The land is being conserved.  

Years ago most people grew or raised at least some of their own sustenance. With the emergence of supermarkets and apartments this became less and less. However, now more people are questioning how and where their food is coming from and want to support local farmers or ranchers.  So next time you buy a tomato or a cut of beef you may want to look at it a little differently and ask a few more questions.