5 Benefits of the Farm to Table Movement
Who doesn’t love eating a tomato picked straight from the garden? Just like that fresh, juicy tomato, the farm to table movement is all about food traveling the least amount of distance from the farm to your table (or fork). This push to eat local food has seen huge growth in recent years—and for good reason. Here are five benefits that the farm to table movement has to offer:
Local produce provides a number of health benefits over conventional produce in the grocery store. Most produce typically travels hundreds of miles from the farm to your local store. To avoid spoilage during transit, companies have figured out ways to ensure that the produce can withstand traveling long distances, such as spraying it with life-prolonging chemicals and picking it well before its ready so it can ripen while en route to the store. On the other hand, local produce has time to ripen on the vine, so it can be picked right before you eat it. This ensures that it contains the highest amount of nutrients, such as vitamin C, according to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. It’s also a lot tastier.
In addition to being healthier for you, local food is good for the environment. Just think about how much diesel fuel one semitrailer uses to cart produce hundreds of miles. Now multiply that by thousands of trucks all across the country and you’ll get just a glimpse into how the conventional system can hurt the environment. The farm to table movement simplifies the system; the food travels a minimal distance from the farm to your plate, so you can feel happy about contributing to a sustainable practice.
Positive Impact on Local Farmers
When food is transported from hundreds of miles away, it doesn’t benefit local economies. It also puts local farmers at a disadvantage. The local movement, instead, pumps money right back into local businesses and farms. It also helps keep the cost of produce down, so you can eat healthy even if you’re on a budget.
Improved Animal Welfare
Large, profit-driven corporations often place their need for maximum production over the welfare and health of the animals they raise. Billions of animals experience terrible living conditions on these “factory” farms. Instead, the farm to table movement focuses on buying from local, family-owned farms that treat their animals well, provide them with proper food and housing, and use sustainable practices.
Better Business for Restaurants
As the push for local food increases, many restaurants have started to catch on. Some have made it their priority to buy produce and meat within a hundred-mile radius, while others have gone as far as to set up relationships with local farmers and ranchers. Using farm to table practices not only makes the customer happy to be contributing to something sustainable, but it also results in delicious food.
The farm to table movement is only at its inception. As it continues to grow and inspire sustainable practices, it just might end up changing the entire industrial food system.
Photo Source: Flickr/lisanorwood