The quality of the food we eat directly affects our personal health… and petroleum-based, industrial food systems impact the natural world. Big Ag’s resistance to truthful labeling makes it hard to know which products and foods are genetically modified and pesticide free… or have a lower impact on the biosphere and create less waste.
Consumers are becoming impatient with corporate advertising spin and there is great need for information that can help shoppers spend their dollars on food products more aligned with their belief in more eco-logically sound food systems.
Luckily, there are apps for that, several of them, for smart phones, tablets and PCs. Food Apps use online databases that help people make educated choices in the marketplace. Scanning a label’s bar code can tell you who makes the product, provide an ingredients list and even suggest related awareness campaigns that reflect your priorities. With this info, shoppers can support companies that produce foods free of toxins, GMO ingredients and pesticides, fake sugars and preservatives… and can see what is made in the U.S.
Laurie Cohen Peters is Communications Director for the prolific non-profit, Institute for Responsible Technology, dedicated to exposing the health impacts of GMO foods. A mother of 2, Cohen Peters is also an international food consultant and co-founder of Farm Food Freedom Coalition, that works to protect farmers from encroaching regulations and GMO monopolies. She describes a few benefits of the free app, Non GMO Shopping Guide.com.
Cohen Peters: The Shop No GMO app is designed to help consumers avoid products with GMOs, when shopping and dining out. We get our inventory from all products that have been verified through the NonGMOproject.org. It has information, questions and answers about GMOs in particular, opportunity to list your favorite products and is organized for categories or specific producers. So it makes it very user friendly when you’re in the store.
Peters describes the feedback loop behind consumer’s power to change the marketplace.
Cohen Peters: With each purchase, you are literally shopping your vote on your plate. You’re letting the producers know that you care about what food you eat and you’re also supporting the sustainable farmer who is committed to non GMO production. So you’re dollar goes a long way, much further than just an exchange for that box of cereal. Its actually sending a loud message that gets telegraphed through our agricultural system.
Ryan Bigelow went from being an environmental issues translator in Japan to a more hands on eco-career. His education, lead him to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where he became the Outreach Manager for SeaFoodWatch.org. Their free app, and pocket guides, help consumers vote, with their wallets, for fishing industries that operate in a more responsible and sustainable manner.
Bigelow: Our goal with the app is simple; we want to provide as much useful information to as many people as possible. We hope we can influence their seafood buying habits and that will drive change on the water. You can search by name, sushi name, region of the United States you happen to be in, by recommendation. You can even find or add local restaurants that serve sustainable seafood. We really like this crowd-source piece of the app because it’s a great way to support local businesses that are making that extra effort to provide sustainable options.
We also spoke with Heather Hilleran, founder of localdirt.com, who brings us the free app, Locavore, with a huge database of local food providers.
Heather: Locavore maps out where farms and farmer markets are around you, so it helps the local economy. And you can also see what’s in season for your area. Locavore, or other apps that help support the environment and your local community are usually very inexpensive or free.
Cohen Peters: We ’re on a roller-coaster ride with our agricultural systems and we have an opportunity to be heroes as consumers, as farmers as restaurant owners by voicing our vote for our planet. Every time you purchase a product that is non-GMO, you are literally voting for the health and well-being of every living organism on this planet.
Other free apps like Fooducate and Buycott can help you find products with a better health impact on yourself, your family and the biosphere which, in turn, supports companies addressing critical issues like GMOs, truth-in-labeling and fair labor and trade practices. For more info and food app links, please visit us at gooddirtradio.org.
A critical mass of consumers can change the status quo with informed spending habits. We urge you to find issues you care about and get involved.
I’m Tom Bartels and I’m Tami Graham. Thanks for joining us on Good Dirt Radio, digging up good news…. for a change.