Where does food come from before it gets to the grocery store? The USDA has strict country of origin labeling (COOL) laws that, “requires retailers … notify their customers with information regarding the source of certain foods.” Effective as of 2005, the law covers just about anything edible including: muscle cut and ground meats (beef, veal, pork, lamb, goat, and chicken); wild and farm-raised fish and shellfish; fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables; peanuts, pecans, and macadamia nuts; and ginseng. Yes, ginseng made the list and is specifically called out.
Although the law covers country of origin, it’s difficult – if not impossible – to tell where within the country the food came from, the conditions in which it was raised, or the handling of that food from origin to table. This is just one of many factors that have fueled local food movements.
If you are interested in learning more, FoodRoutes.org is a great place to start. They point out that in addition to exceptional taste and freshness, buying locally strengthens your local economy, supports endangered family farms, safeguard your family’s health, and protects the environment. And don’t forget the experience factor. Whether you are checking out local farms or growing your own food, you’ll have these memories for a lifetime.
If you want to know where your produce comes from, one of the best ways is to grow it yourself. Check out our Kickstarter Campaign, where we are raising funds to bring our very first product, TogetherFarm Blocks™, to you. If you have a small space you can use these blocks to quickly build a custom garden box without tools or carpentry experience. Check them out!
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