In exploring the story of food, you’ll encounter a rich lexicon relevant to food, farming, and sustainability. Terms in italics can be found elsewhere in the glossary.

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DNA (deoxyribo-
nucleic acid)
a compound of large molecules found inside the nucleus of a living cell containing genetic information
Ecosystema community of plants and animals coexisting and interacting with their environment
Edible educationschool curricula and programs that promote experiential learning about food in the garden, kitchen, and classroom; see School garden
Environmentthe natural world, including living and nonliving things
Extensive farminga method of farming that uses low inputs of money, labor, and resources relative to the land area, as in sustainable farming; in contrast to Intensive farming
Factory farmingthe practice of raising large numbers of livestock in densely packed, confined spaces; see CAFO
Fair tradearrangements between agricultural producers and sellers based upon principles of fair exchange and respect for workers
Fair Trade Certifieda label indicating that an agricultural product meets global fair trade standards set by FLO International and has been certified by FLO-CERT
Farm Billthe major agricultural and food policy tool of the US government; it is updated approximately every five years
Farm to school
a program through which schools buy and serve locally grown foodApples
Farmers marketa market, usually outdoors, where local farmers and artisanal food producers sell directly to customers
Fast foodfood that is prepared and cooked quickly, often using precooked ingredients, and served for fast consumption
FDA (Food and Drug Administration)the US government agency that regulates industries and labels for food, medicines, cosmetics, and other products
Feedlotan animal feeding operation used in factory farming; see CAFO
Fertilizeran organic or synthetic substance that adds nutrients to the soil to help plants grow
Flexitariana person who eats mainly vegetarian food but makes occasional exceptions for cultural, practical, or nutritional reasons
Food accessthe ability of a person or group of people to obtain healthy food, depending on factors such as physical access, financial access, knowledge, or cultural attitudes
Food chaina web or series of relationships whereby one organism eats another and is in turn eaten by another; the expression “eating lower on the food chain” means eating fewer animals and more plants
Food cultureshared values, traditions, and practices surrounding food; food culture expresses itself within society, community, organization, school, and family
Food desertan area of low food security, where residents have limited or no access to healthy foods and fresh produce, and are served mainly by fast food restaurants
Food justicean approach that advocates for fair distribution of food and that views food security as a basic human right
Food literacy
understanding the story of one’s food, from farm to table and back to the soil; the ability to make informed choices about food that support one’s health, community, and the environmentKabocha squash
Food milesthe distance food travels to get from farm to fork; considered in assessing the carbon emissions and environmental impact of transporting food
Food movementa broad term describing individuals and groups who are taking initiative to ensure sustainable, fair, healthy, and delicious food for all
Food policyprinciples and guidelines related to production, distribution, and consumption of food
Food politicsthe political aspects of the production, regulation, and distribution of food
Food securityavailability and access to safe, nutritious food for sustaining an active and healthy life, without risk of hunger or starvation
Food sovereigntythe right of people to define their own food system
Food systemthe interdependent ecologies, people, and processes that bring food to a community; this includes a cycle of producing, storing, processing, transporting, marketing, retailing, preparing, and eating food
Foodsheda defined area in which food is grown, processed, purchased, and eaten; a local foodshed is typically defined as food grown within a 150-mile radius
describes animals raised to roam freely outside, instead of being confined in a cage or penChicken

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Sources: CUESA, Merriam-Webster, Nourish Curriculum Guide, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Sustainable Table, The Nibble, Wikipedia

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