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Apr 11

Written by: Lakeside
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 9:43 AM 

What is organic?
Organic,
as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture, “is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance and conserve biodiversity.” This results in a more natural production process fostering ethical environmental practices. Organic food in particular has seen a spike in popularity in recent years. According to the Organic Trade Association, U.S. sales of organic food and beverages increased from $1 billion in 1990 to $26.7 billion in 2010. Many institutions are attempting to take advantage of this trend and competing to attract customers by offering locally sourced organic options.

Local Sources
Local food has seen substantial growth in Michigan, where farmers markets increased 65 percent from 2009 to 2011. People seem to be rejecting America’s monopolized food industry by buying more local, fresh food. There is even a campaign in Washtenaw County –
Ten Percent Washtenaw – with the goal of making 10 percent of that county’s food purchases come from a local source. In New Jersey there is a popular movement to support the local fishermen by buying fresh from them, helping to preserve their livelihoods and create new jobs. And for meat lovers there is a new Internet service, AgLocal, which helps consumers find locally raised meats in their area. Instead of farmers selling their beefy cuts to distributors or major grocery chains, they can now sell directly to consumers. More than 60 farms are on board with the service, which launches this summer.

Benefits
Supporters believe there are several advantages of moving toward a local, organic food system. These include benefits to:

  • Nutrition and health
    A healthy diet should be high in fruits and vegetables, which provide rich nutrients for an active lifestyle. Organic farmers produce many fresh foods that provide these critical nutrients. Preservatives are usually necessary to prevent decomposition of food traveling long distances. Though they are generally safe, these synthetic substances
    may have dangerous side effects. Keeping food locally sourced reduces the need for preservatives. Certified organic producers also generally avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, which can negatively affect food composition.
  • The environment
    Organic food production consists of farming practices that humans have relied on for hundreds of years. Natural soil and weed management techniques such as soil solarization, crop rotation and mulching cut down on carbon emissions, protecting the Earth’s precious ozone layer. Buying locally sourced food eliminates long product shipments, reducing oil consumption and saving fossil fuels. This not only saves resources that cannot be replaced, but creates a healthier environment for everyone.
  • The economy
    The economic downturn affected everyone in one way or another. Buying locally sourced food can have numerous positive direct economic impacts, including job creation and financially assisting other members of the community. Farmers markets promote sustainability while creating a sense of local unity and shared prosperity.

Individuals are not the only ones who appreciate the benefits of buying locally sourced organic food. Restaurants, schools and hospitals also want to play their part in creating a viable path forward while continuing to serve their customers great tasting food.

Chef Brian Scheesher of the Trellis Restaurant at the Heathman Hotel in Kirkland, Wash. took matters into his own hands. Implementing his own farm-to-fork operation, Scheesher manages 10 acres of organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries on a farm near his restaurant. He uses these ingredients to create delicious menu options that Trellis diners enjoy. Scheesher recently won an award from the United Fresh Produce Association for his outstanding work. The Local Root, a Chicago operation set to launch this month, plans to go even more local by growing its ingredients on the roof of the restaurant. Guests can even dine on the rooftop, sitting right alongside the produce they’re eating. This idea is a creative solution to provide quick access to local food in a downtown area.

There is also a nationwide program to promote local food in schools. Farm to School connects students from kindergarten through high school with locally grown food. Not only does this promote the trend of local food, it also reinforces healthy eating practices in children and young adults. This network includes nearly 10,000 schools in 2,300 school districts spread out over all 50 states. Universities are also attempting to go more natural. For example, the University of Vermont recently signed the Real Food Campus Commitment, which obligates the school to serve at least 20 percent “real food” by 2020. Real food includes that which is produced locally and humanely with a low environmenntal impact. On the healthcare side, Fletcher Allen, a community hospital in Vermont, is a perfect model of sustainable food practices. Not only is it reducing waste by adopting fully degradable cups and plates and switching from disposable to reusable trays, but it has implemented its own farm-to-fork program. It purchases its produce locally, holds weekly farmers markets and buys beef with no added hormones. Going even further, it holds farmer luncheons to educate patients, employees and other healthcare providers on the importance of healthy food production systems.

There is clearly a popular movement toward a more sustainable food system, and it’s not only affecting individuals. Restaurants, schools and healthcare providers all recognize the importance of providing natural, locally grown food in their establishments and have taken many steps to continue on a responsible path.

What is your operation doing to support locally grown food systems?

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4 comment(s) so far...

Re: Farm-to-Fork Trend Sweeping the Nation

Nice share!!
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By MarshallCarlson on   Thursday, August 31, 2017 11:56 PM

Re: Farm-to-Fork Trend Sweeping the Nation

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By Neil Jakson on   Wednesday, November 8, 2017 5:38 AM

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By Neil Jakson on   Wednesday, November 8, 2017 5:39 AM

Organic food has a better

Organic food has a better market view those smart people manage to convince that it’s better and sell it. Does everyone want to be healthy, who doesn't? According to the research of Cheap Essay Writer, an organic point of view everything is natural or similar without chemical or stuff. I can keep going typing reason about organic but I’m just lazy to explain. The bottom line is the mind believes what it wants to believe and I never buy organic even it's just 10 cents more.

By Gloria Woods on   Friday, January 19, 2018 6:51 AM

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