Poll: Are You Concerned About Where Your Food Comes From?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
One of my goals for the New Year is to become a more informed consumer.  For me, it’s a double-edged sword.  I think it’s important to know where my food comes from and how it makes its way to my dinner table.  But at the same time, reading too much starts to drive me crazy and often leaves me with more questions than answers.   Where is the balance?  Do you think about how the food made it to your grocery store shelves when you go shopping?  Or do you just focus on making healthy meals with the basic ingredients your local store has to offer? 
Starting my first vegetable garden last year got me thinking about the growing process and how food makes it to my table.  It can get pretty involved- growing, harvesting, packaging, shipping- and that’s for something as simple as an apple or cucumber.  Consider foods like crackers and cookies that are highly processed, and things get even more complicated. 
For the past few years, I’ve made more of an effort to shop local farmer’s markets, buy organic produce when I can, and I even bought our Thanksgiving turkey from a local farm.  Sometimes these decisions are more expensive, and sometimes they aren’t.  I’m not saying that everyone needs to make the same choices, but these are just things that are important to me and my family.  My goal this year is to have a better understanding of how I can buy foods that are healthy, accessible, and have the least-negative impact on the environment.   I had such a positive experience starting my own garden that I also plan to expand on that this year.     
If it’s important to you to know where your food comes from, here are 4 Good Reasons to Buy Local Food and the Benefits of Growing Your Own Food.   
What do you think?

Do you think about where your food comes from when making choices at the grocery store?

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I don't want my fruits and vegetables grown in foreign countries because I do not know what they use for fertilizer and have no idea what regulations govern the crops, etc. I do know that produce coming into our country is not scrutinized as much as produce grown in our own country. That's not right!!!
Last week I bought a 2 lb. bag of the nicest little Brussel sprouts I have ever seen. They needed no trimming and the three of us who ate them said they were the best Brussel sprouts we had ever eaten. Living in Florida for 6 months of year, I assumed they were grown here - but was shocked when I looked at bag and it said it was distributed by company in Miami, but produce was grown in Guatemala.
Always thought I was a good label reader, but will have to be more cautious in the future!!! Report
I grew up on a farm and we always eat lots of fruits and vegetables that we raised. They are always better than what the stores offer. Now I shop all I can at Farmers Markets and fruit and vegetable stands. If the instances of food poisoning and contamination in the news doesn't convince you then the better taste and freshness should be enough. Report
My husband & I are going to try to plant a garden this spring. When I shop & see all the processed foods and then I pick up a can of fruit that is a product from another country it worries me. I long for the day of fresh air and good fresh natural foods!!! Report
I garden in a big way, starting a lot of my plants in the greenhouse. I just started plans for a garden at the local high school and found two grants to help with the cost. It's amazing what's out there if you just look for it. This is a great opportunity to teach teens about fresh produce and herbs and how to garden! Report
If you don't have the time/energy to garden yourself, I highly encourage you to see if there is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in your area. While you don't entirely control what you get each week, it can often be a more economical way to get local vegetables (and sometimes fruit, dairy or meat) than your local farm market.

We've been a CSA member for 3 years now and plan to sign up for a 4th. For about $25 a week, I get a large box of veggies, which if you bought it at the farm market would cost on average $40 or more (though some of that comes from the high value of the fresh herbs). We're vegivores, but there's enough that many weeks I end up freezing something for the winter.

Most CSA have a volunteer committment, but depending on the size it can be as little as helping in the distribution center for 1 afternoon a season to as much as helping harvest 1 day a month. It's almost like gardening with an expert to give you advice.

I want to start a garden, that's a goal of mine this year.... guess I'd better get started!

I am part of a co-op I receive a basket of fresh fruits and veggies twice a month. That has been helpful in my desire to consume foods grown closer to home and more organic foods as well.

I have to pick my battles. It is chlllenging for me to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my routine and to keep costs down. I can't do much about the sources. Ideally, sure, but the reality is my options are limited. Report
Since I was a kid we grew veggies. Granted, we didn't grow everything, but we had a decent spread. Corn, melons, greens, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, potato (only a couple times), different types of peppers, and whatever might have tickled our fancy that year. Doing this helped me appreciate where food comes from and the work involved in getting it from the ground to the table, so yeah. I think about where my food comes from. Report
I try to buy locally produced food whenever possible and I've made a practice of filling out customer comment cards at the grocery store to indicate the need for more local products.

I won't eat anything imported from China - period - and there are several other countries that I'm wary of. I've found that even some organic frozen foods in one of our hot, local market chains are imported from China. Despite my suggestion that they replace it with a different brand, nothing has changed. I wonder how many people simply see the "organic" designation and unsuspectingly consume potentially tainted produce? Report
I have a small vegetable garden and we enjoy the fruits (vegetables) or my labor during the summer and fall. The rest of the year I buy US grown fruits and vegetables. I find that fruits grown in the southern hemisphere (i.e Chile, Australia, New Zealand) aren't as tasty because they've been picked unripe to make the long journey. It's a preference. I don't buy into the "buy organic". I do buy local when I can. I buy in season, that means no tomatoes in January and no oranges in July. Report
over the past year, this has been a growing concern of mine and you are absolutely correct when you start searching you will drive yourself crazy with the information you find and it leaves you asking more questions than there are answers for.

I've recently started researching the genetically modified foods such as wheat and corn and the long term danger to our entire food supply and also that no other country wants to trade these GM foods or seeds with us until they see the long term effects it has on our people (us) and to our land where its grown and harvested. This coming from a country that grows vegetables directly next to a Nuclear Power Plant and when it passes through customs the FDA approves a certain level of radiation. I'm not so sure what to trust anymore and I'd recommend growing your own anyday.
over 70% of soybeans harvested now are all genetically modified, by 2015 almost all the chocolate will be derived from a genetically modified cocoa bean. The better leave my chocolate alone lol.
This has been a very tender subject for me lately so I'm so sorry to go all activist on your blog =)
Last night I watched two movies. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and the movie Food, INC. Let me tell you, these two movies will get you thinking about where your food comes from and what it can do to you really fast. Report
I heard not long ago that McDonalds imports their hamburger from China, and it doesn't have the same FDA regulations to adhere to. With that information I will NEVER buy a hamburger from them. I seldom eat fast food anyway, but with that knowledge I have crossed McDonalds completely off my list of places to go -- regardless of what I might be ordering. The more products we use that are from the USA the better, that goes for food and most anything else. Report
Don't like my veggies - even the frozen ones - coming from another country. I will do without certain things until they are in season. I would love to have a veggie garden again, but I got tired of fending off the critters and spending way too much on water. (Rain barrels just don't provide enough if there's a drought.) Report
Since we life in Tucson, AZ, the winter is very mild, we have tomatoes, kale, lettuce and a large variety of herbs available all winter. In addition we shop the farmers markets, and joined a vegtable co-op that charges only $15.00 per basket every two weeks. We have been trying all kinds of different varieties of fruits and vegtables. It has been both an inspiration and a challenge not to let a single item of these baskets go to waste and to awaken our families to new foods. Report
We keep our own chickens for eggs, but they are slackers in the winter. I have one who consistently lays, the rest occasionally grace us with an egg. I am planning a garden for the spring, but it is to excite the kiddos in eating a wider variety of vegetables.
How can you buy local in the middle of winter when the ground is so frozen that it can not be worked I have a garden in the summer but our growing season is 4 months in a good year I just look for the best that is available this time of year. Report
I think it depends on the food and a lot of things. I definitely try to buy local but sometimes it isn't possible. I also try to buy only US grown/raised food. For people who can't have gardens they might consider buying an AeroGarden. These are table top gardens and while you can't grow a lot of things you CAN grow tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, etc. Just a thought. Report
If reading about the food system makes you crazy, try reading FAIR FOOD: GROWING A HEALTHY, SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEM FOR ALL - lots of positive steps you can take to make yourself not only a conscious consumer but also an engaged citizen! Report
I like my seafood to be local. During the summer I buy local fruits and veggies. There is a new organic local food group opening in Dallas that will deliver right to my door. Then the majority of my food will be organic and local.
Greenling.com Report
My beef and pork come from my family members. That is a huge reason why I have not become a vegetarian because I know where it comes from and my nephew can tell anyone who asks exactly what all it takes to raise his pigs and what they eat unlike some 4-H kids he competes against. My parents planted a garden this past summer and I think I will try to do a pot garden this coming summer. I also visited the local farmer's market this summer. Report
Now that I live in the fertile, fruitful and farmers-market-full Northwest, nearly ALL my buying is done with the origin of food in mind. It wasn't as easy when I lived in Wisconsin or Arizona, but here?

I don't garden, but I support the efforts of my neighbors by taking any produce they can't use off their hands (spent a week making tomato-items this summer, and I'm glad now). Report
I am always checking where our food comes from. A huge amount is from CHINA and I always put that back. After what happened to the childrens milk and the deaths they suffered nothing from there will be eaten by DH and I.


I spend at least an hour or two a day learning more about where food comes from and what is the best option for me. I have seen many of the popular documentaries from forks over knives to food INC. I absolutely love watching shows such as these. I definitely think that there is no point when you can know too much about where your food comes from because the saying "what I don't know can't hurt me" couldn't be farther from the truth Report
I watched "Food, Inc", and that has just ruined shopping for me, lol! I buy local and organic (for produce, anyway) when I can. I get milk from a local dairy that doesn't use hormones, uses antibiotics only when homeopathic methods don't work, and posts pictures of their cows doing happy cow stuff on Facebook. Produce isn't as big a concern for me (though I at least like to go for local when I can), but if I'm eating meat or other animal products, I want to know that those animals were/are being treated properly. Report
We garden every summer, both to provide some food and to teach responsibility and hard work to the kids. And for those who rent, if you have some outdoor space, look into container gardening! There are alot of varieties of veggies specifically bred for growing in containers. And the difference in taste is amazing! Broccoli from the garden tastes NOTHING like broccoli from the store... And you'll get to ignore those recall warnings that always pop up because you'll know exactly where your food came from! :-) Report
Wow! it is scary to hear that chicken nuggets have toxins. I remember being young and my mom growing her tomatoes, jalapenos,green onions, cilantro just to make homemade salsa every single day. And she would even make fresh corn tortillas. Yes, she would grin her own corn and make corn meal. Fresh, Fresh!!! Those were the days. Report
We rent so we cannot have a garden. There is organic food at the store we shop at, but is very expensive. Is it healthier? Probably. But right now I focus on what we can aford that IS still healthy although not organic.

It does concern me a lot about what is put into our foods, meat, etc.

Luckily my husband has a really green thumb. We freeze a lot of our vegetables so we have as close to garden fresh as we can in the winter. Report
It's a long way in the future, but eventually, I hope to raise most of the food consumed by my family. We are thinking about a dairy cow, chickens, ducks, and maybe some cows for meat - plus a huge garden, fruit trees, berries, and herbs. Thinking about our food supply is terrifying. I saw a story today about some sort of foaming cleaner or solvent being present in chicken nuggets. Also, it seems like healthy foods - spinach, ground turkey, eggs, mushrooms, cantaloupe, peanut butter - are the things you see scary stories on the news about most often. Of course it's the long term effects of the highly processed foods that are worrisome. Report
As a kid my grandpa and I always had a vegetable garden. Everything from tomatoes to pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, beans, cucumbers you name it. I loved watching how things grew and then come harvest time, how to harvest and can or stew the items we had. Its something that where I live now we can't really do however while I'm house shopping a garden or back yard (I can make a decent garden) is definitely a plus for me. Report
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