Farm to Table, GMO’s, Organic: What’s the difference?

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to focus more attention on what type of groceries I am purchasing.  In addition, I want the recipes I make to be creative, tasty and healthful.  My grandmother cooked what could be called ‘soul food’, which was always delicious and she was healthy all her life. She lived to be 94 years old.  My grandmother was not the only person I know of who lived a long life and ate things like collard greens, macaroni & cheese, biscuits. I also remember her having a garden, where she grew all kinds  of vegetables and from which she used to cook her dinner. I actually don’t recall her using a lot of fertilizer on the vegetables she grew.

Recently, I treated myself  and bought the TV Chef Carla Hall’s Soul Food cookbook.  I trusted that when I have seen her on TV she is always doing the right thing by food.  It’s tasty and the ingredients are the best she can find for the occasion. She is creative. Often, when she’s cooking a version of ‘soul food’, Carla makes it a point to prepare her food lighter – by cutting calories – and cutting out fat.  This is how she was trained to cook by her grandmother; and, her grandmother was a dietitian at a hospital.  What better way to learn how to cook ‘good-for-you-soul food’?  Exciting! 

At the  introduction of Carla’s  book she suggested that ‘farm to table’ is how we used to get our groceries before all the mass production by stores.  In addition, she talks about the pride African-Americans take in their food.  I was touched by her stories about ‘real’ Southern food. She encourages us to find the farmers’ markets, buy ‘organic’ when purchasing meat, and how to use various salts. Her book is filled with lessons that we can all use.  Also, as senior citizens, I suggest we pass those lessons on to our families.  Below are some guidelines and links to websites for information about the descriptions of – Organic, Farm to Table, and GMO’s.
♥ Organic: Fresh fruits and vegetables grown without – toxic  persistent pesticides (e.g. non-persistent pesticides do not stay in the environment for long periods of time),  no GMO’s, or antibiotics, etc.  According to Whole Foods, when you choose organic foods you support farmers and producers who, in turn, are people who believe in health, quality and support sustainability. Read about Organic meat, USDA organic standards at:

When I am looking at cooking shows, it seems to me that Californians are on point about purchasing organic products, and that they believe in supporting their farmers.  Here’s what I learned from Cafe21.  You will definitely want to visit their website by clicking the link I’ve provided here.

♥ Farm-to-Table: Food which comes directly from a specific farm, without going through a store, market, or distributor along the way.  It’s not regulated as is the ‘organic’ label. Anyone using the phrase should be able to name the specific farm(s) which they are sourcing. If you are dining farm-to-table the products being served have a few guidelines.

♥ GMO’s:  Genetically Modified Organisms. These are foods manipulated by scientist, who assists in their production. Crossbreeding is involved. Other terms used were mutation breeding, and selective breeding. GMO activists suggest for those concerned about GMO produced products, that they should buy ‘organic’. Some people believe that too few studies have been done on the risks to humans and the environment.

♥Non-GMO label – This is a new label – you can read more about the differences.  This link will lead you to the non GMOProject.  It’s definitely worth knowing about.

There are those who  advocate for GMO’s and they have a list of reasons why, including that it is good for the environment! Read about those reasons at:

Wishing you and your family healthful and knowledge-based eating!


Sources for this post are listed below

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