The Role of Chefs in the Farm to Table Movement

Chefs have a unique role to play in the farm to table movement, connecting producers and consumers, understanding where food comes from, and knowing what consumers want. For more than 50 years, Alice Waters has advocated for the “farm-to-table” movement, which reconnects consumers to local and seasonal food sources, supports small farms committed to organic and regenerative agriculture, and highlights the environmental and public health benefits of sustainable food production and consumption. Chefs are also taking action to make the food system more sustainable. Chicago chef Rick Bayless created the Frontera Farmer Foundation, which provides development capital grants to small Chicago-area farms that work to promote sustainable practices.

José Garces maintains a 40-acre organic and sustainable farm, Luna Farms, which supplies food to its restaurants and serves as a tool to educate children about sustainable and healthy eating. The “Farm to Table” movement has been around longer than you think. The United States Post Office allowed farm-fresh produce to be shipped directly to consumers' homes between 1915 and 1920. Alice Waters also collaborates with the University of California administration to ensure that food served on UC campuses comes directly from local ranches and organic and regenerative farms.

Wholesome Wave works to increase access to healthy food, prioritize nutrition and generate income for farmers. Chefs have an important role in creating markets for the various crops that a sustainable farm needs to maintain rich and healthy soil. To see New York's large rooftop farms, visit The Farm at the Javits Center and Brooklyn Grange Urban Farms in Sunset Park, Brooklyn; Long Island City and Brooklyn Navy Yard. My experiences have shown me time and time again how the power of food can change people's lives, for better or worse.

We should look for new varieties that can take advantage of what a good agricultural system can produce and produce a large quantity with good taste and good nutrition.