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How to Avoid Factory Farmed Foods

Food
How to Avoid Factory Farmed Foods

There are plenty of reasons to boycott factory farms, including your health, animal welfare and the environment.

It can be challenging to avoid foods produced from animals raised on factory farms, given how dominant factory farming has become. But it’s possible. Here are some suggestions from the Organic Consumers Association:

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1. Buy direct from farms. You can connect online with farmers markets, subscription-based Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), buying clubs and farms at:

2. Shop carefully in grocery stores. Choosing certified organic is a good way to avoid the worst factory-farmed animal products in grocery stores.

But a certified organic product doesn’t guarantee that it’s 100 percent free of synthetic ingredients or non-organic ingredients, nor does it guarantee the highest level of animal welfare or the best pasture standard. You have to read the labels.

If you want to know that your food comes from farms that provide the highest level of animal welfare, you’ll want to look for organic, grassfed foods that are also:

If you want nutrient-dense food from animals that are 100 percent grass-fed, you’ll want to carefully vet organic companies’ pasture claims. There is no legal standard for "pastured." The term implies that the animal has been raised primarily outdoors, on live pasture. But the quality of a pasture can range from land that consists of a mixture of living nutritious grasses, legumes and a variety of plant species, to land that is poorly managed with respect to soil and water quality, and consists primarily of dirt and gravel, with no living plants.

Products that are American Grassfed Certified, in addition to USDA Organic, guarantee the highest pasture standards and nutrient density.

3. Consider nutrition-per-calorie when shopping for factory farm food alternatives. Food from factory farms might be cheaper, but not when considering how much more nutrition you get from organic and grass-fed alternatives, or plant-based superfoods. Dr. Oz has put together a great list of foods ranked by nutrient density.

4. Don’t be a animal-consuming glutton. Being a healthy omnivore means eating more vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and nuts and seeking out super-foods. Animal products, produced in sustainable, high-welfare systems, can be harmless, but consider treating them like a luxury purchase. 

5. Try going vegan every now and then. Going vegan is probably the only sure way to avoid food from factory farms when you eat out at restaurants. If you want to try vegan at home, there are plenty of nutrient-rich plant-based superfoods, and much evidence supports the health benefits of a vegan diet. Resources include:

Visit EcoWatch’s FACTORY FARMING page for more related news on this topic.

A plume of smoke from wildfires burning in the Angeles National Forest is seen from downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.

High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.

Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.

California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.

As reported by AccuWeather:

In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.

For a deeper dive:

AP, LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post, Weather Channel, AccuWeather, New York Times, Slideshow: New York Times; Climate Signals Background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

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