The Evolution of Farm-to-Table Restaurants

The concept of “from farm to table” is not new, but it has been evolving over time. With the conviction that the kitchen should be based on the best and freshest seasonal ingredients, restaurants that self-proclaim the label of farm-to-table establishments have become increasingly popular, from small Midwestern locations to urban centers.

But what exactly is “from farm to table”?

At its core, the farm-to-table movement is driven by the ethics of food production. Instead of getting ingredients from a distributor or a third party, restaurants go directly to the source and establish a relationship with producers.

This allows local farms to receive a higher percentage of revenue compared to outsourcing through a third party. In return, this motivates farms to diversify the products they have available. The farm-to-table trend also increases the community's overall responsibility to promote healthy products and ethical behavior. Up to 1,200 school districts across the country have partnered with local farms to serve fresh vegetables and fruits to children. However, there are still challenges that need to be addressed in order for this movement to be successful.

For example, there simply aren't enough facilities to kill animals humanely and safely for farmers who want to sell their meat as if it were slaughtered locally. It's also important to note that “from farm to table” is not a certification, and restaurants can describe their farm-to-table relationships in a variety of ways. The unknown is that the number of farms has decreased by 63%, while the average size of farms has increased by 67%.The farm-to-table movement has come a long way since Alice Waters sought food that was produced in a sustainable and local way for her restaurant in California. In 2001, Gourmet magazine even designated them as the best restaurant in the United States. As more restaurants increase their participation in local farms in their area, this will continue to drive the evolution of farm-to-table establishments.