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Food System Terms


Food System Terms

Community Food System:  Complex, interconnected webs of people, processes, and resources grounded in the particularities of place and encompass all activities associated with the production, processing, distribution, access, consumption and recycling of food and farm products, including animal feed and fiber. Community food systems also include food and fiber harvested from forests, lakes, streams, and other natural areas.  As such, community food systems include a diversity of people, crop, livestock and natural systems, multiple scales of production, processing and distribution, diverse markets, and many regional and national linkages.

Fibershed:  Regional textiles systems that specify a geographic area giving boundaries to a natural textile resource base.  Includes a farm-to-closet vision for clothes and development of local textile economies.

Foodshed: A geographic location producing food for a specific population.  A concept analogous to a watershed, foodshed refers to a region where food flows from its place of production through processing and/or markets to where it is consumed.

Food Sovereignty: "Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations." - Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007

Food Systems:  Highly complex, dynamic, and adaptive systems that includes the people, land, resources infrastructure, and interdependent processes of food from farm to table to waste management.  Food systems are often referred to in terms of geographic scale from local, community, regional, national, international and global.

Food System Sectors:  Food systems are often conceptualized as being made up of interconnected sectors with each sector encompassing a specific set of processes and relationships along the continuum of farm to table.  Common food system sectors include:  production, processing, transportation & distribution, markets & access, preparation & consumption, and resource & waste recovery.

Local Food System:  Often used interchangeably with the term "community food systems."  Local food systems generally span a geographic of approximately 100 miles from the epicenter (usually a city or town), as defined by the person or entity using the term.

Regional Food System:  Generally determined to be a geographic area that includes multiple local or community food systems.  A regional food system might be delineated by political boundaries, geography (such as a watershed, mountain ranges, rivers or other unique topographic features) or by patterns of economic activity.  In areas of the the northwestern US that include Idaho, terms used to define regional food systems include:  Pacific Northwest, Inland Northwest, intermountain West, and Cascadia.  Examples of smaller regional food systems include the Palouse-Clearwater food system, the Selkirk-Pend Oreille food system, and the West Central Mountains food system.

Tribal Food Sovereignty:  "The right and ability of tribal nations and people to: freely develop and implement self-determined definitions of food sovereignty; cultivate, access and secure nutritious, culturally essential food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods; and, design and maintain food systems and enact policies that advance tribal priorities for ensuring that tribal citizens have the sustenance they need to thrive physically, mentally, socially, and culturally not just today, but for the generations to come."  - National Congress of American Indians


Food & Farming Certs

Certifications:  Ensures production practices conform with pre-set standards are verified by an independent third-party. Certifications require production practices are recorded and traceable.  

Animal Welfare Approved:  Independent, nonprofit certification program. Using the AWA label requires verification and inspection to ensure animals were raised outside on pasture or range for their entire lives.  Includes stringent standards for raising, transporting and slaughter. 

A Greener World Website

Certified Grassfed:  Animals who, after being weaned off their mother's milk, only eat grasses and forages for the length of their lives can be certified as "grassfed." Regulated by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Services, the grassfed label is not strictly enforced and is often used to describe non-certified meat products. Grass Fed standards might also include animals being raised on pasture without confinement, never treated with antibiotics or growth hormones and raised on family farms. 
American Grassfed Website

Certified Humane:  “Certified Humane” means that the animals were allowed to engage in their natural behaviors; raised with sufficient space where they are able to lie down, shelter and handled gently to limit stress; and given ample fresh water and a healthy diet without adding antibiotics or hormones.
Certified Humane Website

Certified Naturally Grown: (CNG) products are certified by an independent nonprofit organization through peer-to-peer inspection networks. CNG standards approximate national organic standards, yet require less paperwork and have lower certification fees than the USDA’s National Organic Program. 
Naturally Grown Website

Certified Organic/USDA Organic: All products sold as “organic” must meet the USDA National Organic Program production and handling standards. Certification is mandatory for farmers selling more than $5,000 of organic products per year, and includes annual submission of an organic system plan and inspection of farm fields and/or processing facilities to verify that organic practices and record keeping are being followed.
USDA Organic Website

Demeter Certified: Biodynamic certification of farm and food products.  Managed by Demeter International, Demeter USA and Demeter Canada.
Demeter Certified Website

Food Alliance Approved: A certification program that ensures agricultural operations, food processors and distributors are operating with practices that protect people, conserve natural resources, are transparent and traceable and do not contain genetically engineered or artificial ingredients.
Food Alliance Website

Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA):  A comprehensive set of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rules designed to ensure the safety of the food supply for both human and animal food. In Idaho, all producers of produce must register with the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.
FDA Food Safety Modernizations Act Website

Non-GMO Verified:  Products have been evaluated by a third-party to ensure they meet the Non-GMO Project Standard for avoidance of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). 
Non-GMO Project Website

Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) Listed:  Products intended for use in certified organic production and processing that have been independently reviewed against organic standards. Acceptable products are OMRI listed (R).  
OMRI Website

Regenerative Verified and Regenerative Grown:  A process used to validate labeling of agricultural products grown and produced using regenerative farming practices. Validating includes both soil test analysis by a certified laboratory and verification of production management. In this certification program, regenerative farming practices include (but are not limited to) cover cropping, rotational grazing, mob grazing, reducing fertilizer inputs, reducing synthetic chemical inputs, diverse crop rotations, and minimizing mechanical soil disturbance.  
Soil Regen Website

Salmon Safe:  Certification and accreditation for farmers, vineyards, urban developers, builders and land managers utilizing practices that protect agricultural and urban watersheds.
Salmon Safe Website

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