Arriving at the Farmers Market, I glance around—smiling faces, colorful displays and a chorus of acrobatic-inspired laughter greets me as I arrive. The desire to ‘Buy Local’ taps me on the shoulder and leads me down the aisle to peruse the available products. Searching for eggs and meat, I begin to wonder what those local animals’ lives were like: Were they fed organic feed free of GMOs? Were they pasture raised or did they live in cages? And it hits me – I do not know. We all want to make ethical, educated decisions when purchasing food for our families—so how do we choose?
As consumers, we are bombarded everywhere by messages. Product labels tout the ‘natural’ qualities of caged chicken; bright logos cover packages claiming everything from ‘humane treatment’ to ‘free range’—many labels with little to no oversight as to how they are used. But in the products I purchase, I want transparency—especially about GMOs, pesticide and herbicide use, and animal welfare.
We all have the power to create change every time we make a purchasing decision; we vote with our dollar simply by choosing what to buy. At Scratch and Peck Feeds, recognizing this fact impacts how our company sources ingredients, decides which products to carry, and determines manufacturing decisions. We take into consideration the implications of our decisions, both now and on future generations.
When Scratch and Peck Feeds was founded, our owner Diana worked hard to be the change she wished to see in our food system. We became Non-GMO Project Verified in 2012, followed by Organic Certification in 2013—one of the only feed mills in the United States to have all animal feeds they produce meet both labeling criteria. You see, while ‘Certified Organic’ focuses on how something like corn is produced (i.e. an Organic seed would be grown using Organic approved methods with regulated use of herbicides and pesticides), ‘Non-GMO Project Verified’ focuses on the end product (i.e. requiring testing, segregation and traceability to avoid GMO contamination). For Scratch and Peck Feeds, we knew buying regionally and farmer direct would provide the most sourcing transparency. With this in mind, Diana aimed to help customers make educated purchasing decisions by going the extra mile and ensuring all Scratch and Peck Feeds carried both Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Organic labels.
You are what you eat—and what your animals eat.
While some people say ‘you are what you eat,’ Scratch and Peck Feeds takes it one step further and believes “you are what your animals eat.” By working directly with farmers wanting to produce high quality Certified Organic grains, we are able to provide better choices for all health conscious consumers.
Back at the Farmers Market, across the aisle from my favorite soap maker’s stand, I find a local farm selling eggs with a sign that says “Non-GMO and Soy Free.” Curious about what the sign means, I strike up a conversation—because sometimes, knowing where your food comes from means not being afraid to ask questions! We discuss farming practices and the future of our food system. While the easiest and most preferred way to buy high quality meat and eggs is to look for the Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Organic seals on the package, this farm has not yet gone through independent labeling for non-GMO or organic. In the meantime, they manage their land and pasture raised animals using chemical-free methods and feed only Non-GMO Project Verified and Certified Organic Scratch and Peck Feeds because they agree “you are what your animals eat”! When in doubt and your local farmer is not around to answer questions, look for the Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified labels. Together, they are there to make sure you purchase products complete with peace of mind!