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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!

Grass Finished Beef

Grass finished beef (sometimes marketed as grass fed beef) comes from cattle that have been raised on a forage diet their entire lives. These cows are in pasture during the summer and fed stored grasses (hay and silage) during the winter months.  The majority of cattle in Canada spend the first summer of their lives in pastures eating grass but are then moved to a feedlot to be finished on grain such as corn. Grass-finished beef cattle, on the other hand, remain on a pasture and forage diet until slaughter.

      

While grass fed cows take longer to get to their optimum weight than cows finished on grains, their meat is lower in saturated fats and higher in beneficial fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.  The nutrients available in the grass also lead to increased levels of beta carotene, vitamin E, and vitamin C in the beef. No antibiotics, hormones, or herbicides are included in a grass fed diet.