Harvest to Plate: Ways to Feel Good About Your Food This Holiday Season
The holiday season is right around the corner, and planning family gatherings can be together exciting and daunting. Arranging for the perfect turkey, the bounty of vegetables, the diverse cheese board, and the never-ending selection of pies can make anyone feel as though they don’t have control over where their food is coming from. Luckily, with the rise of the farm-to-table movement it is becoming easier to procure your food locally and have the ability to trace it back to its origins. Knowing where your food is coming from this holiday season will make you feel better in more ways than one.
Local Foods are Usually Whole Foods
Even though we are well into autumn, your local Farmer’s Market is still producing and making local goods. Most Farmer’s Markets provide seasonal favorites all throughout the year. By shopping at your local market you have a friendly, direct-to-consumer exchange with your farmers. This is a way to be a part of your community, and to buy whole foods that are grown there too. Spotlight that free-range turkey or heirloom variety apple pie because these foods are minimally processed and are raised with care. This holiday season, your table can be a delicious array of what is grown, raised, or baked in your local area and you can rest assured that your food is clean and healthy.
Make Your Environmental Footprint Smaller
By supporting your local farmers, you are also doing your part to help the environment. So what does buying local actually do for the environment? Local agriculture involves food production methods that are more healthy, including the reduction of pesticides and less environmentally harmful equipment and practices. The reduction of transportation needs is the most important factor in buying local products. Local commerce supports a more sustainable food system that goes beyond the methods used in industrial food production. Industrial food production relies on fossil fuels and manufactures on a global scale producing an over abundance of food, using a variety pesticides and preservatives in order to transport goods all over the world. Food that is farm-to-plate has little transportation needs; essentially food travels from the farm to the Farmer’s Market to your house. Seeking out your local markets this holiday season will make you a good steward of the land, because you will be minimizing packaging waste and buying food that has been harvested only when it is ready to be consumed.
Keep Track of Your Food
Sometimes buying everything directly from your local farmer is not feasible, but tracing harvest to plate is not. Many companies make it easy for you to trace your food from where it is grown to your kitchen with GPS software. The use of GPS, thermal printers, durable labels and tags allows consumers to be able to trace the food they purchase from its harvest, through the processing and distribution all the way to the day you set it out for you and family to enjoy. Consumers, farmers, producers, grocers, and producers alike can be advocates for respecting food production and knowing their food. By supporting these advancements in food traceability we are able to create clear visibility in the way our food is produced and labeled. So when the bustle of the holidays are upon us, don’t let what you eat, serve, and prepare for your loved ones be stressful too. Knowing your food and where it comes from will make you feel healthier, reduce your environmental impact, and support a transparent food industry.