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Local Food 101

Have you ever wondered why certain foods are labelled Organic and others Natural.  What is the difference between Grass Fed Beef and Corn Fed Beef?  Should you buy the Free Range Eggs or those from Free Run Hens?  Are there Nutritional advantages of one over the other?  And who makes the decisions concerning Certification and Labelling in Canada?  If you have asked any of these questions, then this section is for you! 

Based on some of the most commonly-asked questions about our food, Foodlink has compiled Local Food 101 to help you navigate through the confusion that surrounds food and agriculture terminology today. 

Choose topics to explore from the categories listed below.  This list will grow over time.  Should there be a term that's not here that you'd like to see covered, please let us know.  We'll do our homework to help get you the facts on your food!

Pasture

Pasture is land used for grazing livestock on a farm. It is a complex plant system comprised of perennial grasses (orchard grass, bromegrasses, red canarygrass, timothy, fescues, bluegrasses, and rye), legumes (clover, alfalfa, and vetch) and sometimes annuals (kale, turnips, oats) whose composition is influenced by the soil, growing conditions, weather, and animals using the area.

Prior to the advent of factory farming, pasture was the primary source of food for cattle, horses, sheep and goats.  Today, organic and naturally-raised animals are often exclusively pasture-raised. In Ontario, livestock producers use almost half a million hectares of improved pasture and three-quarters of a million hectares of unimproved pasture land. The combined area provides a healthy and inexpensive source of food for cattle, sheep, goats, horses, deer, elk, and bison. The use of pastures is particularly important in areas of Ontario where other crops cannot be produced.