When you are looking around for a place to go for lunch, you often see “Cocina del Mercado” on the blackboard outside the local joints, indicating that the ingredients are what’s in season now in the market in the area. What’s freshest, and hopefully what’s best. But, what if you take this idea a step or two further? That is exactly what the farm-to-table movement is doing- people making sure they know what happens every step of the way: from planting and harvesting or raising the livestock, to storage, processing, packaging, sales every link in the chain right up to the moment you consume your food.
Going straight to the source is not a new concept at all, but this movement has come back to life as a reaction to an increase in the presence of genetically modified foods, globalization, and large-scale farming and food processing. People have started wondering why it is possible to get anything you want, at any time of the year. Where did it come from? How long did it take to get here?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that what you eat and buy must be organic, but concerned individuals are looking to take back some sort of ownership of where their food comes from, exactly. And some restaurants and shops are busy trying to do the same- both by monitoring the chain closely, and in some cases even by growing their own produce.
It isn’t always easy to live a connected life in the city. One easy way to start is at the local market. I go to the market near my house on Saturdays, because that is the day there are the temporary stands outdoors, where farmers come to sell what they have harvested that very week, from near my town. If they don’t have everything I want or need for the week, I then move on, but I try to start with the farmers, first. It means I’m supporting a small farm, instead of a corporate one, and that the produce I buy is actually in season, and the carbon footprint is smaller, with it coming from just outside the city, rather than from halfway around the world. It seems like a win-win to me.
Check out this short video about a few farm-to-table places in the States, with urban gardens
If you are signed up to Netflix, a great way to practice your English and learn a bit more about this is by watching the episode about Dan Barber on “Chef’s Table.”
- Harvest: this is when you collect or pick fruits and vegetables
- Carbon footprint: how much energy,and so carbon emissions, is need to make something function
- Ownership: possession