Why Farm-to-Table is So Important
The healthy choice for you and your community, because not all foods are created equal.
You’ve probably heard of the farm-to-table movement that has been sweeping our modern dining culture over the last few years. The name “farm-to-table” may sound familiar. Perhaps in the context of a trendy bistro or on the cover of your favorite cooking magazine, but have you ever delved into not only what exactly it means, but, more importantly, how it can impact food consumption for you and your community? We’re taking a closer look at one of the pivotal trends in today’s food industry that has altered everything from shopping to preparing food all year round.
The farm-to-table initiative is a social movement that encourages restaurants, schools, eateries, and individuals to seek out local ingredients directly from the producer. In essence, the “know where your food comes from” mentality has given way to a new wave of food culture, one that aims to support local farms, to foster the ultimate food traceability. One of the pillars of the farm-to-table focuses on sustaining local farms and fresh food sources, many of which have felt the pressures to keep up with the low prices and product variety of their grocery store counterparts. A farm-to-table approach allows these family farms and local food producers to stay in business, boosting the local economy, and producing food with minimal interference.
The pillars of the movement maintain food freshness, food safety, and food seasonality with the flavor playing a palpable role in promoting farm-to-table. with the taste of locally grown food having fewer chemicals and preservatives than those grown from distant locations, then imported. With locally grown and harvested food requiring less transportation to local restaurants and farmers' markets, the overall carbon footprint related to these goods is lower, which makes the farm-to-table process better for the environment. The farm-to-table approach prioritizes foods that are in season and regional for maximum freshness, offering a more wholesome and ultimately healthy way of eating.
The practice of farm-to-table food sourcing and dining may seem like a relatively recent revelation within the food community and industry; but in reality, has been embraced by many cultures around the world for centuries. They have long recognized the inherent value that comes from eating locally grown foods and the benefits it has on the local economy and community. The farm-to-table method continues to permeate the food industry, marking a unique shift in the way we consume food, lending itself to wholly nourish more than local communities, but a more mindful and rewarding approach to food consumption.
How can you make the switch?
Seek out local farmers and farmers' markets. Embracing a farm-to-table approach has a direct positive effect on both the environment and the local economy. No to say that everything you’re going to need to stock your kitchen will be found at the local farmer's market, but try incorporating fresh loaves of bread, honey, and produce you would normally buy from the grocery store. You don’t need to buy a lot of locally sourced foods at once to make a difference, slowly make the switch.
Be inspired by seasonal recipes. Eating seasonally and buying the in-season foods from local food producers can be an impactful way to ensure that you are supporting your local year-round. Try new recipes featuring seasonal produce for dishes with max flavor and ingredients you can grab from your local farmers market. Not only will your seasonal dish be bursting with authentic savor, but you can feel good about supporting local food producers.
Buy only what you need. We’re all guilty of it. You go to the store and stock up on all of your favorite fresh fruits and veggies with the intent of eating it all in due time, but one day turns into five and you find yourself tossing another half-used bag of arugula you promised you would finish. Of course, food waste is detrimental to the environment (and your wallet) so try only buying exactly the amount of food that you need. When you are buying from your local food producer, do yourself a favor and be realistic with the amount of food that you will need and buy just that.
Plant at home. Farm-to-table can be much more manageable if you are contributing fresh food to your plate. Planting some of your favorite fruits and vegetables can be a fun way to get the whole family involved in the process of harnessing your food. Plus, there is something inevitably rewarding about watching the seeds you planted be cultivated into a tasty and nutritious addition to your cooking.