Five Reasons You Should Embrace the Farm-to-Table Lifestyle
By Carmen and Tripp Eldridge
Farm-to-table living isn’t just for those with a green thumb – it’s a smart and sustainable way for every household to commit to their community.
Food has been a crucial form of human connection throughout history, but modern amenities have muffled the contact between garden and grub. As a result, many farmers and consumers have turned to a farm-to-table lifestyle, shrinking the divide between communities and those who feed them. Community-supported agriculture can take many forms, including crop-sharing systems, community gardens, food co-ops, and even partnerships between farmers and restaurant owners. No matter the method, when food is brought directly from farm to fork, the benefits are endless.
Here are just five reasons you should embrace the farm-to-table lifestyle:
#1 Keep it Fresh
When food is kept in the community, it is available for consumption much faster than if it was preserved for supermarkets and restaurants miles away. Fruits and vegetables can be harvested at the peak of ripeness when all of the vitamins and nutrients can shine through. As an added bonus, seasonal, locally grown products keep your menus just as fresh as their ingredients.
#2 Money Matters
Farm-to-table methods like food co-ops and crop-sharing systems contribute to the local economy by keeping money circulating through the community. Instead of spending at big-box supermarkets, consumers will be putting their money right back into the food source, funding further developments for farms to not only continue the cycle, but also take care of their families and communities.
#3 Environmentally Ethical
The average food item can travel around 1,500 miles before being consumed, polluting the environment with transportation via trucks and trains along the way. Alternatively, locally grown foods have a much smaller carbon footprint, typically contain little-to-no preservatives, and will arrive at the final destination in a much more desirable condition. When food is grown by local farmers, farmland is also utilized and protected, preventing it from being absorbed by growing cities with greater emissions.
#4 Reducing Waste
Around one-third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted around the world. One significant part of this problem is the large-scale retailers who discard expired products or produce deemed unfit for shelves due to superficial differences before it can be purchased. With smaller-scale farming operations, waste is reduced by putting food on the consumer’s plate long before the expiration date.
#5 Getting Involved
The benefits of making the switch to farm-to-table living are significant and sustainable. No matter your motivation, even taking small steps such as starting a family garden, joining a community plot, or purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from a local farmers’ market can create a big change in the long run.
Interested in learning more about the opportunities for farm-to-table living near you? Check out The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s National Guide to Finding Local Food for national and state resources.
Carmen and Tripp Eldridge are small-scale farming experts and the current Farm Directors at Arden, an award-winning residential agrihood in Palm Beach County, FL. Managing the community’s five-acre farm, Tripp and Carmen are pioneering innovative farm-to-table living in South Florida.