Pros and Cons of Farm to Table
What is farm-to-table? The farm-to-table social movement has seen an increase in the value of
consuming agricultural food products that are acquired directly from the source of their production. The
agricultural products included in the farm-to-table movement may come from a garden, farm, ranch,
fishery, brewery, winery, or any other source of agricultural production. The most common example of
farm-to-table would be the common occurrence of farmers markets where locals are able to purchase
fruits, vegetables and a variety of other products directly from those who produce such goods. Farmers
markets are often organized by communities in an effort to aid locals in making healthier choices in the
foods they purchase, while also greatly benefiting the local economy by supporting local producers of
agriculture and agribusinesses.
Food trace ability refers to the capability of consumers to be able to trace their food to its production
source. It is incredibly important to know where the food we eat comes from, because otherwise there
are too many unknown variables contributing to its production and we really cannot be sure what
exactly we are putting into our bodies. Food trace ability is directly linked to food safety. If you do not
know where the food you eat comes from, how can you be sure that it is safe to consume? Therefore,
tracing your food back to its source is a valid way for consumers to feel more confident about the
agricultural products which they purchase to consume. This is why so many people place significant
value on having the ability to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers at local farmers
markets, because they ultimately trust local sources more than mysterious commercial entities who are
not always so skilled at informing consumers where exactly their product comes from and what all has
contributed to its production.
Farm-to-table is a movement which helps protect the existence of smaller, local farms which are often
family owned and operated. These family-owned farms are at risk of being illuminated entirely as large-
scale production has dominated many markets. It can be very difficult for smaller farms to compete with
commercial production, so it is important to remember why smaller farms may actually offer superior
products which are safer to be consumed. Heirloom strains are much less common than they once were,
so farm-to-table allows for these fruits and vegetables strains to be protected and preserved so that
they may be consumed into the future and not disappear entirely. It is much more likely to find heirloom
tomato varieties at a farmers market than it would be to find such a specialized product in a larger
grocery store. Most commercial grocery store chains are much more likely to offer products primarily
sourced from large-scale commercial agricultural production. Major store chains market their products
to a larger segment of people, which in turn requires greater volumes of products. It would be difficult
to provide great volumes of products at low prices without utilizing large-scale producers. This gives
commercial producers of agriculture a competitive advantage over smaller farms.
Those who criticize this trend has often critiqued it to be a passing fad. There is plenty of evidence,
however, that would support the consistent existence of a market segment who does value food
trace ability and local food sources enough to pursue local, organic products regularly. Local, organic
food options often cost more, which is another criticism of the farm-to-table movement. It is apparent,
however, than many consumers are actually willing to pay a premium price for a product which they
value to be superior. Although farm-to-table and local, organic produce options may not be held as
valuable to some as others, farm-to-table does not seem to be a frivolous trend and should not be
dismissed as such.
Those agricultural producers who may find issue with the farm-to-table movement are often those who
will find it difficult to incorporate such a trend into their production and marketing strategy. Larger
producers who grow crops on a commercial scale may struggle to market their products with the added
value and benefit of food trace ability. The good news for commercial producers is that they continue to
hold a competitive advantage over smaller producers who are not equipped to meet the needs of larger
retail chains who require large volumes at low prices.
Agribusiness owners and laborers who skillfully incorporate the farm-to-table movement into their
marketing strategy may see an incredible amount of growth for their company as a result of such
efforts. For example, many agricultural products are marketed as being a product which is local to a
specific city, town, county, state or region. Consumers who value food trace ability will see such products
as being superior and are thus more inclined to make purchases at premium prices for these goods.
Tracing their food to its source allows consumers to feel comforted by an increased sense of safety.
Successful restaurants often promote their cuisines by informing potential consumers as to the food
trace ability of agricultural products used in the crafting of their offerings. When restaurant offerings are
promoted for their locally sourced ingredients, consumers see added value in these products and
consider them as being safer for consumption. Restaurants partner with local agriculture producers in
presenting premium products to the local market segment who values such offerings. It is mutually
beneficial to both restaurants and local agribusinesses to partner together in promoting superior
products made with local ingredients.