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Be a Part of The Farm-to-Table Movement


By +Leyla Shamayeva on Oct 13, 2013 10:00 AM in Tips & Updates

The focus on our food and how it is grown is now one of the world’s hottest topics. The increasing health-consciousness is not only sparking healthier waistlines, but everything from writing to sustainable dining, too. Experience the fruit of the farm-to-table movement for yourself through one of these top five activities.

Nourish Your Noggin

You nourish your body with nutritious food, so why not nourish your brain? Educating yourself about the farm-to-table movement will give you a newfound appreciation of where your food comes from, which can lead to healthier food choices.

For a sense of what local eating is, go for fun-to-read memoirs of local eating adventures like The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver. Once you’re ready to take a stab at it yourself, check out cookbooks like Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets by Deborah Madison. More great read options can be found on this list.

It’s also never too early for farm-to-table education. Teaching children about the farm helps increase food and vegetable intake as well. The Fairy Tale Trail, a new series of creatively written “farm-friendly adaptations of timeless fairy tales” by Aaron Burakoff, is a fun way to connect children with local farms. They can follow the adventures of Jack and the Corn Stock, Ciderella and the Little Glass Slipper, and Beauty and the Bees, characters and tales they know well, from a farming perspective. Their website also features free activity sheets and lesson plans to keep the fun and learning going.

Dine Locally

If you’re not ready for cooking locally yourself, try dining locally. An increasing number of restaurants have paired up with local farmers to source their ingredients. This means that they know exactly where and how the ingredients are grown, their dishes use fresh, flavorful ingredients, and their menus are seasonal and always have something new to offer. All pluses for you! Find out about local restaurants in your area, or see if there is a map of them available for your area on GreenMaps.

Visit the Farmer’s Market

You’ve heard it before: the farmer’s market is a great place to shop for produce. This is your chance to participate in the farm-to-table movement fist hand. Shop smart and get a chance to talk to the people who actually grow your food. Some markets even offer nutrition education workshops and cooking demonstrations that teach you how to use the seasonal food you buy.

Pick or Plant Your Own

Perhaps the most direct way of bringing farm-fresh produce to your table is to plant or pick your own. Late Summer and Fall are ideal for visiting a farm for some berries, apples, peaches, or even your own pumpkins for Halloween!

You can also take a stab at growing your own food, whether in a community garden, your backyard or your own apartment. Appreciate for yourself the work and care that goes into the food you eat. Try easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables, or go easy with some sprouts instead.

Do you participate in the farm-to-table movement? What is your favorite book or activity about it?



Comments


We are very fortunate to live in a place which has multiple farmer's markets throughout the week.  A few of them move indoors during the winter months and though there are not very many fresh vegetables then, we can still get local apples and apple products (apple butter, dried apples), locally raised meats, locally raised chicken, wild-caught salmon, hatchery-raised trout, and even a few local wines in the fire hall on Tuesday or the school gym on Saturday. My basement is stocked with canned vegetables from my garden, my freezer filled with vegetables and fruit, there are winter squash hardening off outside before coming in to the basement and a basket full of garlic bulbs.  We have multiple CSA organizations in our area too. And several organic farm operations which take orders for chickens and turkeys.  Some have lamb.  Around the corner from my house is a small butcher shop which is also an abattoir and provides another source of local meat.  There is a farm in the town where I work that still bottles milk and sells it directly to the public in half-gallon glass bottles that we return for the deposit. And a place which makes some of the best ice-cream in the world is just a little further on.  There are farmers in the area who make cheeses instead of selling the milk to a processor so we have many choices.  We are also fortunate to know how to cook from scratch.  Dried beans are far less expensive than canned and have only the salt we choose to add (precious little).  It is a rare day when we have processed foods but when things get hectic and time gets short we have 3 different locally managed pizza shops to choose from.  We have several restaurants which feature local foods as well and two of them are also brew pubs which provide locally produced ales and beer.  

The downside is that many of these are more expensive than what is available in the large grocery stores but we probably spend less on food than people who make a habit of patronizing fast-food emporiums. A special bonus is that we have a very healthy diet that is low in fat and high in fiber.  Now if only we could find a local producer of coffee and chocolate. 



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