In this article we’ll talk about farm to table food and why it’s good for you. Whether you’re directly connected to the food world or not, you’ve probably been hearing the term “farm to table” a lot for the last several years. You could say it started long before, with the organic food movement but farm to table can actually stand in a category of its own. Instead of the movement emphasizing organic ingredients, farm to table is more focused on food being fresh, from the local farm, and to form an identity for farmers that at some point along the way had been lost. Not that they lost it, but consumers did. And now, farmers in the last few years have become the rockstars of the food movement, and we’re really happy about it.
We know the movement of natural and organic foods became popular in the early 2000’s but farm to table food began at restaurants in the early 1970’s. Many credit chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse as the chef that really began to make farm to table eating popular, and from there restaurants around the country slowly caught on. Flash forward to today, and you can find a farm to table restaurant in almost every city across the country. So, let’s talk about what the benefits are of farm to table eating.
Why farm to table food is good for your body, the environment, and the farmers that are growing your food:
- It helps the environment. Farm to table is all about eating as local as possible. That means the distance your food used to have to travel is being cut down by a lot, and the footprint of the travel it used to have to get to your table is greatly reduced. No more cross-country carrots being delivered means a lot less gas and cleaner air.
- It often means organic. Not always, but often farm to table means you’ll be eating natural and organic crops and meats. This is a plus because you’ll be avoiding pesticides that are used on larger agricultural plots.
- The demand for organic food means there will be more of it. When the restaurants and patrons in a given community begin to demand organic produce, farmers that they purchase from may begin to listen.
- You’re supporting local farmers. When restaurants and eaters are holding up a standard of eating local, the farmers that are closest to them will be supported and appreciated, boosting their business and supporting their strenuous efforts on the land.
- It can help you become more creative in the kitchen and try new types of food. When you’re eating what is locally available, it can often impact your “normal” diet because you no longer have access the foods you would by at a larger, more commercial grocery store.
- It can force you to cook more. If there aren’t restaurants near you that serve farm to table food, you can still purchase the food and start cooking for yourself more frequently.
- It can save you money. Often if you buy into Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) you’ll be spending a lot less for a large amount of produce, eggs, and often meat. A great idea is to go into halves on a CSA with a local neighbor or friend, so you can cut down on the cost and make sure you won’t be wasting any of your bounty.
- It creates a sense of community. For the farmers, local restaurants, and the people eating at them, there is a sense of belonging and support that can begin to grow around the farm to table movement in a given town or city.
A little bit more about farm to table food…
As you know, at CookUnity sourcing locally is highly important to us. It means that our chefs hand-pick the farms that surround us in New York and the local Northeast, and that the relationships that we have with those farmers are strengthened with every purchase. There’s also something to be said for knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body, especially when you’re trying to live your healthiest and most balanced life. Not only are pesticides harmful to us, but knowing that our meats haven’t been raised with hormones and that the animals were able to have a happy and healthy life while on the farm is something we value. Plus, we think that local and organic ingredients just tastes better and makes you feel better overall. Check out some of our meals, which are all locally sourced and organic whenever possible. Lastly, we loved this timeline we found on the farm to table movement, and recommend checking it out if you want some specific history on how things have grown from the 1920’s until the early 2000’s.