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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GMO (genetically modified organism) a plant or animal whose genetic code has been intentionally modified by laboratory methods
Grain-fed describes cattle raised on a diet of corn, soybeans, or other byproducts; in contrast to Grass-fed
Grass-fed describes cattle that graze on a natural diet of grass in a pasture; in contrast to Grain-fed
Green describes environment-friendly products or actions
describes plant varieties that have been selected by farmers for specific genetic traits, and cultivated for at least 50 years through seed saving Heirloom tomato
Herbicide a pesticide that is used to kill or inhibit unwanted plants, known as weeds
Heritage a term that usually describes endangered breeds of animals, in the way that heirloom describes plants
High-fructose corn syrup a liquid sweetener made from corn that has undergone enzymatic processing to convert its glucose into fructose
Hormones substances that control growth and other functions in living organisms; artificial hormones may be administered to cattle to increase growth or milk production; see rGBH
Hormone-free see No Hormones Administered
Hydroponics a method of cultivating plants in nutrient-rich water, in the absence of soil
Industrial agriculture modern farming that is heavily reliant on machines and emphasizes high production
Industrial food system a system of large-scale, mechanized food production focused on efficiency and profit
Input in agriculture, refers to water, energy, labor, money, and other materials and resources required to sustain a farm
Integrated farming farming the mimics natural systems, often integrating livestock and crop production
Intensive farming a method of farming that uses high inputs of money, labor, and resources relative to the land area, including pesticides and fertilizers; in contrast to Extensive farming
Junk food
ready-to-eat convenience foods that are often high in fat, salt, and sugar, and have little to no nutritional value Donut
Labor rights see Workers’ rights
Local food food grown, processed, and distributed within a certain radius (often defined as within 150 miles) of one’s home
Local food system a system of small-scale food production focused on growing and selling food locally, sustaining local economies and ecosystems
Locavore a person who tries to eat only locally grown and produced food
the practice of growing a single crop on the same piece of land year after year, without crop rotation; in contrast to Polyculture

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

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