Questions you should be asking

One of the hardest things about this whole food journey are the questions and what you should be hearing for the answers. It’s one thing understanding what types of food we should be eating but it’s another to know what type of questions we should be asking in order to be getting the right type of foods. I’ve been trying to come up with a list of questions for my readers regarding food purchases but because I too am learning, it has been difficult to produce such a list.

I was doing some research a few days ago and came across a website called SustainableTable.org. Sustainable Table is an extraordinary website packed with important information! You can find information on issues like animal welfare, additives, pollution, CSA’s, farmer’s markets, environment, factory farms…the list goes on. I encourage you to go to their website and take some time to read through the articles.

As I was looking through the website I found one of the most amazing things I could ever find- a page completely dedicated to what type of questions we should be asking & the answers we should be getting in return. I couldn’t have asked for anything better for myself and for the people reading my blog. I immediately contacted Sustainable Table and asked if I could use their information on this blog and they gave me the go! I’m so excited to publish them! They have multiple question lists and I will be featuring each one for the rest of the week.

For today I will be giving you the general question list. In each item will be a list of questions you should be inquiring about. The other lists go into detail for each item (i.e., questions you should be specifically asking a beef farmer & answers you should be receiving).

General Questions to Ask a Farmer
BEEF
  • Are your cows raised on pasture?
  • Do you feed your cows anything besides grass and hay?
  •  How are your cows finished?
             – If cows are finished on grain you should ask: How old are your cows when they’re started on grain  and how long are they fed grain?
             – Are your cows finished in a feedlot? If so, how old are they when they enter the feedlot? Approximately how long are they there? How many other animals are in the feedlot at any given time
  • Are your cows ever given antibiotics?
  • Are your cows ever given hormones, steroids or other growth promoters?
POULTRY
  • How are your chickens/turkeys raised? On pasture, indoors, confined?
  • How much time do your chickens/turkeys spend outdoors each day
  • What do you feed your chickens/turkeys?
  • Are your chickens/turkeys ever given antibiotics?
  • Are they given hormones, steroids or other growth promoters?
DAIRY
  • Are your cows raised on pasture?
  • Are your cows fed anything besides grass and hay?
  • Are your cows ever given rBGh or any other hormone?
  • Are your cows ever given antibiotics?
EGGS
  • How are your hens raised? On pasture, indoors, caged?
  • How much time do the hens spend outdoors each day?
  • Are your hens ever force molted?
  • What do you feed your hens?
  • Are the hens ever given anti-biotics?
HOGS
  • How are your hogs raised? On pasture, indoors, with proper bedding?
  • Are the hogs born on your farm?
             – If yes: Are your sows ever held in a farrowing pen?
             – If no: Do you know if your hogs’ mothers were held in farrowing pen?
  • How much time do your hogs spend outdoors each day?
  • What do you feed your hogs?
  • Are your hogs ever given antibiotics?
  • Are your hogs ever given hormones or feed additives?
VEGETABLES/FRUIT
  • Who grows the fruits and vegetables and where is the farm located?
  • How big is the farm?
  • Does the farmer use chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers on the crops?
  • Is the farm a diversified operation, with many varieties of vegetables and fruits
  • Does the farm grow any heirloom varieties of fruits or vegetables?
  • Are any of the fruits or vegetables genetically engineered varities?

This is a wonderful set of questions to get your mind thinking. I know some of you may already know a few of the questions but I found this list very helpful because it covers questions you may not have known to ask. Although this list is geared towards asking a farmer you can most certainly use this when you are buying from a grocery store. You can speak to the butcher or the people who work in the produce section. If they don’t know any information it’s probably best to seek out a different place- one in which they care about the food they supply.

Tomorrow I will be writing about Questions to ask a Beef Farmer

Until next time,
Loriel – Healthy Roots, Happy Soul

photo credit
Resources- http://www.sustainabletable.org/shop/questions/

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