Helping Hand from Whole Foods

For quite a few years of my adult life I ate a vegetarian — largely vegan — diet.  It wasn’t a labored decision and came quite naturally, actually.  In part, I was disgusted by the nation’s food industry, particularly its handling of meats — ever read Omnivore’s Dilemma or watched Food, Inc.?  With that said, a few life changes {pregnancy, a baby} and a phenomenal chef of a husband have influenced me to moderately add meat back into my diet.  Importantly, however, I am now armed with the knowledge about how to choose meats that are best for me and my family.
Whole Foods is helping make that choice much easier!  Are you familiar with their meat rating system?  If not, allow me to introduce you:
The premise — and it’s a great one — is that the more you know about your meat, the better.  Whole Foods {together with Global Animal Partnership} is committed to answering important questions about the “life” of the meat they sell.  How was that animal raised? How was it treated? Where did it come from? What about added hormones and antibiotics? Was its growth artificially accelerated to get to market sooner and reduce feed cost?
In a nutshell, the ratings range from 1 to 5+ and it should be noted that just achieving a ’1′ is an accomplishment:
I encourage you to read more about Whole Foods’ system and, further, the nation’s food industry/current practices.  I assure you, it will be a very eye-opening dive.
I am also an advocate of local farm co-ops (I’m currently doing research in our area), as well as local farmer’s markets and community markets.
Do you think this is as important of an issue as I do?  What are you doing to improve the food you put on your table?  Any tips or additional information for me/us?

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