10 favorite food websites in 2012

organic produce

This is not a list of websites for cooking shows or well-known chefs. Rather it is a grouping of websites about all things relating to the food we eat: where is comes from, who does the work, what are the issues and what we can do to be informed and take action.

Farm Aid. The first Farm Aid concert in 1985 was held to raise awareness about the loss of family farms and to raise funds to keep farm families on their land. But they have expanded under the slogan Farm Aid: Family farmers, good food, a better America.

They have a HOMEGROWN.org website promoting food from family farms, an online Farmer Resource Network to help family farmers thrive and their Farm Aid's Action Center to allow concerned citizens to become advocates for farm policy change.

UNITE HERE! REAL FOOD.REAL JOBS. Institutional food - food prepared outside of the home - is a big part of our food system. Changes in the food practices of these institutions would have a profound impact on the both food system and food workers. The website is a rich resource, with stories from those in food service.

The latest post is about Mrs. Kim, a worker from Chicago Public Schools, whose lunchroom workers fought for four months this Spring to make their vision of freshly-cooked food for Chicago's children a reality.

Healthy School Food. This is such a great website! Their Project Cool School Foods in Ithaca and New York City are partnerships between the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, the school districts, businesses and organizations to develop, test, and implement plant-based, made from scratch, international bean-based recipes in school cafeterias. And it is a Farm to School Program, featuring locally grown, organic beans and grains grown at Cayuga Pure Organics.

Their wealth of information includes recipes, school gardens, resources and success stories. And check out the photo on their Facebook page - that lunch tray makes my mouth water!

Growing Power Inc. Their vision is inspiring urban communities to build sustainable food systems that are equitable and ecologically sound, "creating a just world, one food-secure community at a time."

Growing Power implements their mission by providing hands-on training, on-the-ground demonstration, outreach and technical assistance through the development of Community Food Systems that help people grow, process, market and distribute food in a sustainable manner.

Chicagoans can check out the Facebook page for Growing Power Chicago to find out when and where they can purchase food and/or volunteer.

Slow Food USA. Their slogan is "supporting good, clean and fair food" - everything that fast food is not. Their programs promote local and regional foods and safeguard biodiversity. Be sure to check out their US Ark of Taste, a catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction. By promoting and eating Ark products they hope to ensure they remain in production and on our plates.

United Farm Workers. UFW, founded by Cesar Chavez, exists to provide farm workers and other working people with the inspiration and tools to share in society's bounty.

Their stated values are: Integrity: Doing the right thing even when no one is looking; Si Se Puede Attitude: The embodiment of a personal and organizational spirit that promotes confidence, courage and risk taking; Innovation: The active pursuit of new ideas; Non-Violence: Engaging in disciplined action; Empowerment: A fundamental belief in and respect for people.

Many UFW campaigns are to protect the farm workers on the job in the fields and to keep the food we eat safe. They often collaborate in these efforts with environmental groups. Check out the work they have done to keep strawberry fields safe.

United Food and Commercial Workers. The 1.3 million members of the UFCW in the U.S. and Canada work in a wide range of industries from meat packing plants, grocery stores, retail stores and a number of other industries.

Over 240,000 UFCW members work in the packing and food processing industry. They work the kill floors, process sides of beef, pork, lamb, and work in chicken plants.

Hundreds of thousands of UFCW union brothers and sisters work in supermarkets across the country-slicing meat in their delis and stocking shelves.

UFCW has a militant history, most recently rallying in Michigan on the sham right to work law and the dangers of faster speed lines in poultry processing plants.

Seafood Watch. Fishing practices worldwide are damaging our oceans-depleting fish populations, destroying habitats and polluting the water. As informed consumers, we can help turn the tide. This website provides consumers with information on the issues and what we as consumers can do - including a downloadable pocket guide to sustainable seafood and an app for your smart phone. These are helpful when you are shopping or eating out.

Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The CIW is a community-based organization of mainly Latino, Mayan Indian and Haitian immigrants working in low-wage jobs throughout the state of Florida. Southwest Florida is the state's most important center for agricultural production, and Immokalee is the state's largest farm worker community.

Their 5,000 members work for large agricultural corporations in the tomato, citrus and other harvests, traveling along the entire East Coast following the harvest in season.

They fight for: a fair wage, more respect, better and cheaper housing, stronger laws and stronger enforcement against those who would violate workers' rights, the right to organize without fear of retaliation, and an end to forced labor in the fields.

Their campaigns include: an anti-slavery campaign and a campaign for fair food.

Center for Science in the Public Interest. CSPI has been the organized voice in the U.S. on nutrition, food safety, and health for forty years. They educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry's powerful influence on public opinion and public policies.

CSPI puts out the Nutrition Action Health Letter, runs an Action Network, and has a nifty consumer "tool kit" on their home page. Arguably the best and most important work they do is fighting against hugely profitable companies that direct ads (for shockingly junky non-foods such as soft drinks) at children.

This group of websites (and their social network formats) can help you and your family eat healthier and get involved in the issues that affect our food, food workers, and ultimately our planet.

Photo: Northeast Organic Farming Association of RI.

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  • I am a family farmer in central Illinois. We grow corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle on our family farm. I would love to get you to a website that is allowing consumers to connect with actual farmers to get real answers about where their food comes from. Illinois Farm Families is helping to bridge a gap in the consumer/farmer relationship through the watchusgrow.org website.

    My personal farm blog can also be used as a resource. schutzfarms.wordpress.com

    It would be great for consumers to go directly to farmers with their questions!

    Thank you

    Posted by Stacy Schutz, 01/23/2013 9:21pm (2 years ago)

  • I am a family farmer in central Illinois. We grow corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle. I would love to help you get answers on where your food comes from. www.watchusgrow.org is an excellent farm family website that answers questions consumers have about food production. I also have a farm blog that can be a great resource for you. schutzfarms.wordpress.com

    Our website aims to connect consumers to the people who produce their food.

    Thank you for your time!

    Posted by Stacy Schutz, 01/23/2013 9:14pm (2 years ago)

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