Farm to Table – Fact or Fiction
Is farm to table a “real” thing?
We’ve all heard the buzz words - farm to table, buy local, farm to fork, but what does any of it mean, really?
How do we know we are actually doing something positive – for farmers, our families, ourselves?
Is this just some passing trend that we’ll all regret buying into next year?
The kind of questions that can keep your brain fluttering at night….fortunately, there are answers.
While the timeline is primarily US based, it does provide information regarding the movement, how it was brought to the public’s attention that, in the interest of better food, better health, we needed to address our food sources, suppliers, and methods of raising our food.
The Principles Behind Farm to Table
- Food security – the movement looks to increase the availability of safe food beyond individuals or specific (farming) families, bringing it to the larger community. The end goal is to develop LOCAL food systems, starting with naturally raised crops and humanely farmed animals fed natural diets – no steroids, hormones or GMO products.
- Proximity – the movement hinges on the idea that the various parts of a food system should exist as close to each other as possible – ie, the Ontario beef farm to your house. The goal is to encourage and develop relationships between all of the levels of a food system – the farmers, the processors, the retailers and the consumers. Also, proximity reduces the transport time, keeping products fresher and reducing the environmental impact of shipping long distances.
- Self-reliance – one of the major goals of farm to table is to generate communities that can meet their own food needs, support their own suppliers and sources; again, eliminating the need to rely on outside sources or long distance transportation of food products. A strong local economy is a benefit to everyone in the community.
- Sustainability – this ideal supports the concept of allowing future generations to meet their own food needs. In other words, we don’t want to destroy current resources in the process of meeting current food needs, we want Ontario’s family farms to be able to continue long into the future.
Other goals of the farm to table movement include better health for the community as a whole and increasing access to better quality food for all members of the community.
Farm to Table Movement Takes Off
Originally laughed off due to what some (namely, the processed food community) saw as unrealistic goals and extreme ideals as to how a food system should operate – the farm to table movement truly blossomed when environmental awareness exploded. The lessons learned from movies such as “Carbon Footprint” & “Super Size Me” made many people the world over much more aware of not only what we should be putting into our bodies, but how the food is transported. Buying local became not just healthier for the individual, it has created a culture of healthy people who care about the environment.
What has become very clear is that the farm to table movement is in no way a passing fad, or a trend that will fade away. It is designed to change our ideas and the culture around what and how we eat, and where it comes from.
A general definition of the farm to table movement according to Rutgers is “a food system in which food production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated to enhance the environmental, economic, social and nutritional health of a particular place”.
Many have thought the movement to be associated primarily with produce sold at farmers markets and foods used in restaurant fare, but the movement has become prevalent in all aspects of the food industry – including meat products.
Join the movement today
Eat healthier, shop local, support local.
Use better quality, better-for-you, environmentally friendlier products in your meal prep.
Start today, feel better tomorrow!