What is Farm-to-Table?
The farm-to-table movement is a socially conscious practice by which restaurants receive food from small local farms as opposed to large corporations. Significantly increasing in popularity during the last 15 years, a farm-to-table approach offers restaurant owners a multitude of benefits:
When produce travels hundreds or even thousands of miles to a destination, it’s often harvested prematurely to prevent spoilage during the long trip. While this process helps ensure the food arrives in adequate condition, it also means vegetables won’t be as fresh and fruits won’t taste as flavorful. Soups and sauces lack the delicious punch of produce that’s ripened completely prior to harvesting. But with farm-to-table restaurants, produce is allowed to ripen entirely on a vine or in the ground—resulting in better-tasting fruits and vegetables.
Large corporate farms often utilize 18-wheel trucks to transport food all over the country. Leaving trails of diesel emissions in their wake, these trucks are predictably not so great for the environment. Farm-to-table restaurants combat this issue by receiving food directly from local farms, which are just a short drive away. This local relationship leads to less pollution and an improved outlook for the environment.
Receiving meat and produce from local family farms helps support the local economy. This is in stark contrast to getting food from a large corporation that’s potentially located across the country.
A significant criticism of corporate factory farms is their inhumane treatment of animals. Receiving meat from local family-owned farms can help quell concerns regarding the animals’ living conditions. As opposed to large corporations that are driven by mass profit, local farmers are more likely to treat their animals humanely by feeding them proper food and providing adequate housing.
A Brighter Future
Proper soil maintenance is crucial to ensuring farm land remains fertile for years to come. While money-driven corporate farms make little effort to rotate crops, practice seed diversity, and promote biodiversity, local family farms are more likely to engage in these sustainable farming practices.
Many farm-to-table restaurants feature seasonal menus that enable to farmers to cycle crops, which helps keep soil tilth healthy enough for long-term crop growth. Local farmers are also less likely to use pesticides, further improving the future prospects of a farm’s fertility. While they might not seem like such a big deal now, these practices will keep farms useable for our children and grandchildren.