Farm to Table; Are you getting the green for your green?

bullshit1 I know I am going to take a ton of flack for this, but regardless, Farm to Table is Bullshit. But please, before you scoff and label me as a heretic hear me out. I know food. I have been a professional chef all of my adult life and grew up with a natural affinity for all that is green. My grandfather had a 100 acre farm and orchard. I gardened all of my childhood- In fact I drafted my first plans for my grandfather’s crop rotation and planting schedule at the ripe age of 11. I can still taste the dirt. I know the ins and outs of that heirloom tomato on your caprese salad from seed to fruit. In my own personal chef career I also was the executive chef at a 160 acre ranch with 10 acres of sustainable farms. All of the vegetables, fruits, and herbs were picked every day by my master gardener or myself. I have lived farm to table. So why would I say something so monumentally  eviscerating about America’s new super trend? I will some it up quite simply in one word: marketing.  Merriam-Webster Defines marketing as: 1 a : the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market b : the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service 2 : an aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer It is never an idea itself that is to blame, rather, it is how people utilize great intentions to drive personal profit through the exploitation of great ideas. You are being sold a bill of goods. Americans love it. But I must tell you, denial ain’t just a river in Egypt. The push toward organic farming and farm to table-ism is ripe for scam artists. It has nothing to do with not using chemicals (as, guess what, they use all sorts of chemicals on their crops, including pesticides. “All natural” pesticides such as copper and nicotine based toxins). It has lower yield per acre, meaning it uses far more water and land and energy, which is why it is so much more expensive. Also, new studies are proving there is no end-user difference to organic or local farming. There is no difference in toxicity level, no difference in nutrition, no difference in taste. The trend fits nicely into the warm blanket of guilt releasing trends- much like buying carbon credits. Before you jump on the band wagon look to see if what you are doing is for your mind, or your feelings and if you are being willfully exploited by another special interest group that has profit in mind. As a farmer, I have found that growing more food with less effort, less energy. THAT is true power and this is the future of agriculture and has always the future of agriculture. The fewer farmers you need, the better off society is – and the more energy that can be spent on very real global problems like increasing ocean salinity, alarming rates of desertification, and epidemics of mass starvation in third world countries due to antiquated and inefficient agricultural processes. Every time we’ve decreased our dependence on agriculture as a job, it has vastly improved society. Farming is all about producing what is needed to support civilization. It isn’t an end to a mean , this is what we must learn to understand. I Leave you with a quote by a food blogger Jason Sheehan in his article, “Top 20 Worst Food Trends of the Decade”, I found it quite clear, concise, and to the point: “Unless you own the farm, shut up. Unless you’re Dan Barber, shut up. Being able to name the farm or ranch on your menu does not give you the right to jack the price by ten bucks. If you’re committed to making the world a better place with your restaurant, have a little class about it. Do good without drawing attention to yourself. Being a decent steward of the environment should not be a marketing hook.”

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