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Monday, May 19, 2014

What Farm To Table Got Wrong

It is outstanding to know that, according to this article, "80% of Americans say sustainability is a priority when purchasing food", that puts a new spin on eating local. This could mean that eating local could truly change the way we eat and at the same time make lasting change to reshape our
landscapes.

But, certainly there is more complexity to this farm to table issue than just literally going from "farm to table", right? And, simply because farmers' markets and people going to more local or farm to table restaurants doesn't mean that that is the way everyone eats. It would be great to see more of the local foods as the default food, rather than fast food. The tragedy here is that "Big Food" is not getting smaller, it is actually growing bigger and more competitive. "Despite being farm-to-table’s favorite targets, corn and soy account for more than 50 percent of our harvested acres for the first time ever. Between 2006 and 2011, over a million acres of native prairie were plowed up in the so-called Western Corn Belt to make way for these two crops, the most rapid loss of grasslands since we started using tractors to bust sod on the Great Plains in the 1920s".

The chef who wrote this article has indeed learned a thing or two about farm to table and so it seems there is a process to it. As he noted, upon one of his visits to a local farm to purchase a local flour for his restaurant, he learned quite a bit from the farmer. It was there that this chef learned of a wheat that was grown here -- called emmer wheat or farro -- which was delicious! But, as he discovered, it was not that this wheat was delicious by accident, it was due to the rich soil in which it was grown that made all the difference. This is where it becomes more complex. This farmer, named Klaas, showed this chef the intention of planting less popular grains and legumes like barley, millet and kidney beans as well as "cover crops" in well-planned rotations that ultimately affects not only the quality of the soil, but the quality and taste of his delicious wheat.

In short, many of the less popular crops like barley, millet and kidney beans could serve as staples in the everyday kitchen instead of corn and soy. This could serve as a start to a change that could truly change the way we eat...





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