Four Food Buzzwords and What They Really Mean

“All natural”

“Locally grown”

“But it’s organic”

“I only eat grass-fed beef”

We’ve all encountered these phrases, whether they came up during conversation or were printed across the produce bin at the grocery store. Do you really know what they mean? Continue reading


Are Organic Foods Really Pesticide-Free?

I’m a teaching assistant (aka- student grader) for one of the Agriculture and the Environment classes offered at Illinois State University, and today we went over organic farming, touching on the topic of pesticides used in the organic farming industry. Wait, what? Pesticides? I thought organic farming meant that there were no pesticides used?

As it turns out, pesticides are used in organic farming. But they’re a different kind of pesticide than what is used in conventional farming. Organic farmers are allowed to use any naturally occurring pesticide. Natural in this context means that it is derived from ingredients found naturally on our planet and will eventually break down into its natural ingredients. Remember organic chemistry? Same terminology. Continue reading


As Americans, we are blessed with many choices and opportunities, as well as the freedom to choose what we want. Food, for instance. We’ve got conventional, organic, local, generic brand, name brand, Walmart, Kroger’s, the local farmers market, low-fat, diet, dairy, non-dairy, soy, homemade and to-go….the list goes on and on. While it’s great that we have that opportunity and freedom to select what we want, our choices normally fit the categories of “it tastes good”, “it’s cheap”, “it’s nutritious”, and “I’ve only got 20 minutes for lunch”. Continue reading