The farm-to-table movement is in full swing. Everyone from hipsters to yuppies have started to find appreciation for “eating local,” and for good reason. Farm-to-table food cuts out the middleman, putting consumers in direct contact with the farmers and ranchers producing their food. It also brings you closer to your environment, as you are at the environment’s whim when it comes to what foods are available in your area in any given time of year. If you’ve ever been curious to dip your toes into the world of farm-to-table eating, there has never been a better time to give this tasty trend a try!
Being a locavore no longer means that you absolutely have to go down to that swanky restaurant to have a meal using locally-sourced ingredients. Farmer’s markets have dismantled the restaurant industry’s monopoly on local foods, putting the power to buy nutritious, whole foods back into the hands of the people.
There’s more to enjoy at a farmer’s market other than the people watching, delicious smells from food vendors, and brightly colored banners advertising all manner of products. The farmers and ranchers that come to these markets understand that the people consuming their products appreciate a bit of knowledge about where their food comes from. When you talk to the vendors, they will usually be more than happy to tell you all about the processes required to produce their wares whether you’re buying them or not.
Farmer’s markets are inherently environmentally friendly as well. While all livestock needs to be approved by the United States Department of Agriculture at one of their facilities, fruit and vegetables don’t have the same requirements. This essentially means that when you’re buying your produce at the farmer’s market, you know that it traveled significantly less distance to get to you than the romaine at your local superstore. Less distance traveled means less resources used, resulting in greens that are just a bit more green!
Low Risk Dining
Another benefit of the farm-to-table movement is its potential for inclusivity. It is an unfortunate truth that there is a stigma surrounding celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, and people often think those suffering from these conditions are treating it like a health fad. However, these are very serious conditions and should be treated with the same respect as any other food allergy or sensitivity.
While finding a nice allergy-friendly restaurant that caters to your needs has become easier in recent years, there is always the possibility that something could go wrong. While restaurants do their best to make sure no cross-contamination occurs when they prepare your food, many of the ingredients they use may have been transported with or processed in a facility with foods that may make you sick. Locally sourced ingredients have a much shorter timeline in getting to restaurants, so the chance of cross-contamination on the way is significantly reduced.
Even at home, eating farm-to-table foods is a healthier option. When you go out to buy your produce, you can directly ask about farming practices to give yourself peace of mind. You can ask what pesticides — if any — were used in growing them, if the fertilizers used were organic, or if livestock received antibiotics at any point.
A Sensible Diet
It seems like every year there is a new diet craze sweeping the country. Paleo, Keto, and intermittent fasting all fall under this category, and there are countless more. While these diets may work for a lot of people, it is often easy to forget that even when you aren’t dieting, everything that you consume constitutes your own personal diet and can affect not only your physical health but your mental health as well.
Even diets that are seen as incredibly healthy can have their faults. Though vegans report an overall improvement to their health and mood due to their diet, it isn’t inherently healthy. Folks who practice veganism have just as much risk of developing bad food habits as anyone else, and many vegan dishes are still remarkably high in fats from coconut or avocado. Even Oreos are vegan, and overdoing it with Oreos is about as easy as it gets.
If you aren’t engaging in a strict diet that dictates what can and can’t be eaten, it doesn’t mean that you can’t eat healthy and lose weight on your own. Farm-to-table foods are generally unprocessed and free of preservatives, and shopping at a farmer’s market gives you the opportunity to find delicious raw foods and whole grains that you would otherwise be unable to find
While the farm-to-table movement isn’t necessarily new, it definitely isn’t going anywhere soon. Luckily, it is a movement that has made the ability to decide what you put in your body much easier, and by participating in it you’re making progress towards not only a healthier you but a healthier society at large. Now, go out and find your local farmer’s market, support local business, and be confident in knowing that you’re treating your body well!