In a wonderfully-written article The Importance of Eating Healthy by Danny Cardoso (also featured in Heights Magazine) he writes: “If you can trace back what you eat back to nature, you are eating healthier.” and the writer of this article is very inclined to agree. Label-checking on food products is good, but an apprehensive shopper does not a healthy consumer make. So let’s examine the path and the health benefits of Farm-To-Table edibles.
What path do our vegetables take in order to reach the tables of our homes? If you have ever been one to grow a bean sprout in a ziplock bag in the 2nd grade, you would be one to know that vegetation begins with roots taking sprout in nutrient-rich soil. The roots carry the nutrients into the development of the vegetable. With a larger variety of crops that farm may grow, the more flora and nutrient-packed life will develop in the soil. This means the nutritional value of a tomato, carrot, or onion can very much depend on the soil of the farm it came from.
The best metaphor the writer of this article can think of for healthy diverse soil is building the strongest possible Pokemon team. If you pick a Charmander starter (a stand-in for wheat for the purposes of this metaphor), you don’t necessarily want to build the rest of your team around other fire-types because they can only do so much damages against water types (read: the sameness of the roots will not stimulate the water in the soil in a diverse way leading to potential stagnancy and/or drought) and they are pretty much useless against rock-types (the same is true for wheat). You want a diverse team of flora to stimulate the soil in the same way you want a diverse team to beat Giovanni in Viridian City.
As with vegetables, the same is true with livestock. Everything a cow consumes will directly affect the nutritional value of its meat for human consumption. And what the cow eats should came directly from what grows in the soil on the farm. The adage “You are what you eat” rings very true in the Farm-To-Table philosophy. (Here’s a free tip from the pros: Look for beef that is 100% grass-fed for the highest nutritional and flavour content. Don’t be fooled by 80% grass-fed, which is cows that are fed corn and hay, which are both “technically” types of grass according to the CFIA, but have nowhere near the same nutritional content.)
With the benefits of Farm-To-Table in both healthy living and great flavour, let’s talk about the HOW: as in: “How to get good food from the farm onto your table”. The answer is simple: Wherever you go to buy your food, ask them where their food comes from. Dialogue is crucial in the food industry. If we, the consumers, stop asking questions then we will never get the best quality foods. Ask for the names of the farms, and then give them a quick google at home or on your phone. Any butcher shop or fresh produce supplier worth shopping at should have a list of their farms ready to go for the customers. Another adage rings true in the Farm-to-Table philosophy: “Ask, and you shall receive.”