From the fair to food labels: What you read in 2018

2018 was an exciting year for food and farming. Take a look at the top ten most-read articles by you and other Illinoisans this past year.

  1. GMOs: A look at the seedless grape


Illinois farmer Krista Swanson answers a much-debated question: Are seedless grapes GMOs? We’ll spoil the ending, they’re not. But the story is still interesting.

  1. Organic vs. conventional: What’s the same, what’s different?

venn diagramOrganic versus conventional – it’s a highly debated topic. An Illinois farmer who has used both methods offers a valuable point of view to help you make the best choice for you and your family.

  1. Four farm moms and the labels they’re not buying

farm mom with kids

These four farm moms have an insider’s view of how food is grown and raised. They see right through label claims designed to make more money rather than inform.

  1. Why I’m not labeling my beef as “natural” anymore

farmer in cattle pasture

Illinois farmer Michelle Aavang spent 11 years as a vendor at several farmers’ markets, selling cuts of beef from cattle she raised. She used the label “natural” as a way to differentiate her products, but now she has a different point of view.

  1. Are Illinois farmers getting rich when you buy food?

Woman paying with a credit card in a supermarket closeup

As the emphasis on marketing by food brands and stores has increased, the farmer has received less of a share of every dollar spent despite you having to pay more for the same food.

  1. Five reasons to visit the fair

county fair

From carnival rides to prize-winning animals, there’s something for the whole family to enjoy at the fair!

  1. Growing pigs and raising kids

pigs and kids

When the fair season came to a close, this farmer reflected on what her years showing pigs in 4-H and FFA has taught her and her family.

  1. A dietitian’s take on the “dirty dozen”


For the past 23 years, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit and non-partisan agency, has published an annual “dirty dozen” list of produce that they deem highest in pesticide residue – pitting organic and conventional against one another. But they’re not telling you the whole story.

  1. Back to school with a balanced, budget-friendly lunch box

healthy lunchbox

A nutritious lunch provides a boost of energy to get children through the day. Lunchtime is a time to relax and recharge with a well-balanced, satisfying meal. Get some tips from an Illinois dietitian in this blog post.

  1. Yes, we use organic practices on our farm. No, you won’t find “organic” on the label

jars of honey

By almost all outward appearances, Kristin Srail runs an organic farm. But you won’t find any of her products with a “certified organic” label.