Is farm to table just farmwashing?

Posted: Friday, May 22, 2015 12:00 am
By Tessa Edick
For Columbia-Greene Media


Kids that grow kale eat kale! When I was growing up in the Finger Lakes region of New York state, we ate everything we could from surrounding farms and it was meaningful because it made us feel good and replaced medicine.


We preserved, conserved and canned for the off seasons when we couldn’t find fresh fruits and vegetables we craved. We knew the people who grew and raised our food and their methods because we visited their farms to source what we ate locally. We honored farming as food security and a noble profession we relied upon to stay healthy.


Famers tend to practice integrity, transparency and quality growing that we demand. Bragging rights is about yield or how good it tasted, not that it came from the farm to tables in any sort of elitist “I’m better than you” expensive or meaningless way.


We didn’t call food organic, we called it food — and thankfully that differentiation wasn’t an option allowing only the rich to be healthy.


Good food should not be a privilege, it is a basic right. Since eating is the most important thing we do after breathing, sleeping, digestion and hygiene, we must find a way back to the farm and foodways that promise health and wellness to benefit our children and theirs. This comes with collective demand by being conscious about what you buy to eat.


Good taste follows rules of production, not diets, supplements and certainly not “Mad Men” Madison Avenue language. It is rooted in ecological, sustainable practices we must all re-learn to have one collective conversation with a consciousness that impacts the soil, water, air and our food outcomes positively.


The farmer has always been the best-kept secret of the chef, but once the locavore media buzz started everyone jumped on the bandwagon and indulged in farm markets, making access less exclusive.


The farm-to-table trend has become so compelling, even the big business of food decided to take part and leverage the integrity of the family farm for their own financial gain to mislead us and in my book, farmwash a holistic message of authenticity and goodness.


There is no understanding of food claims or certifications and packages tell you only what you want you to hear, both convenient or catchy, so you consume more.


Pretending to be “local” from a distance that cannot be navigated by foot or advertising farm-to-table fresh on colorful packaging of processed food that targets kids is fraudulent and false, rendering us sick, fat and foolish, while big food business laughs on the way to the bank.


Skip the slogans, the supermarkets, the slick manufactured messages cleverly brainstormed and colorful offerings of “homemade” cooking from “farm” sources outside of those you know or trust.


I often move faster than karma but I believe in authenticity, honesty, hard work and meeting the people that feed me. I trust that labels, factories and restaurants nowhere near a farm that claim to feed me from the farm and bank on big profits over the well-being of humans across the globe will reap what they sow too.


It’s shameful, it’s costly and it’s farmwashing at best!


Beyond the farm imagery on every commercial in melty ’Merica, beyond the list of farms as the focal point of every restaurant menu these days listing a dozen purveyors, the fast food business is dealing in portable food, seeming as if the farmer is making hay to feed you while the sun shines.


Take notice and be aware. These people are feeding you messages with the feel good factor and getting paid, while you are overfed and starving to death.


The farmer hasn’t just suddenly appeared in our agricultural society to drop in and drop off some fresh, wholesome, “pop up” nutrition for the whole family to trick you — he has been making a living in America for centuries and our food values should reflect the same.


Eating to rebuild our homestead values and a commitment to a nutrient dense diet should focus on food, cooking and family, not cheap food.


What they don’t tell you is the solution — how to change your health or enrich your life simply by visiting a farm and getting connected to what you need to eat: Real food from real people offering transparency and quality in their practices.


The next time you see a silo or dairy cow in a million dollar commercial, ask if your are being tricked again with expensive slick messages dressed up in overalls selling you smoke belching cheap food lifestyles that made the term farm to table a light at the end of the tunnel that undermines the work of the family farm and aren’t invested in your wellness.


Farm to YOUR table is a thought process and a lifestyle, not a bragging right or slogan for expensive eating that doesn’t provide equality and nutrition for all.


Get back to seed and soil and shake the hands that feed you. Plan a trip this summer to the source of what you eat and meet your farmer that works tirelessly, so you and your family eat well in a way that is sustainable and good.


Spend your food dollars on real food from the farm and pay a fair living wage for food from people you will come to trust and invest in once again, as valuable as any doctor, lawyer or educator.


Move away from television shows that truck in fake food promising the real thing. They like us sick and fat and they also own the pharmaceutical companies that are far more profitable once they have us committed for life promising to fix our health problems with pills that cure fast food fallout.


It’s a choice and you make it three times a day. It’s easy to see the difference once you get the memo! Did I mention, it tastes better too? Join me on a mission to change the way we eat and preserve farming in America from the real farm to your table. Thank me when you are consistently healthy and bragging to you friends at a restaurant that practices farm to table and puts money where their mouth is too!


You can contact Tessa Edick at tessa@ or on Twitter @FarmOnFarmOn.


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