An old concept is sweeping the nation, and it’s doing so under the guise of a new trend. The phrase “farm to table” is making its way into mainstream conversations, and the idea behind this movement is probably very familiar to area Hoosiers. Why? Because there are over 15 million acres of farmland in Indiana.

Chances are, you are either a farmer yourself or you know a farmer, and that means the notion of getting fresh food products straight from a farm is not unfamiliar territory.

Fast food started to become a trend with the opening of establishments such as White Castle (1921) and McDonald’s (1940), followed shortly by Taco Bell, Burger King and other chains that catered to a busy family and work life.

But before that, most families kept a small garden and traded abundances of one vegetable for another, relying on neighbors and friends for variety. We knew that the food was locally sourced because usually, we were part of that local sourcing.

Over the years, we’ve become disassociated with our foods and the processes behind them. It’s no longer uncommon to not know where the food we’re eating came from or how it was raised or grown and processed.

The farm-to-table movement is seeking to end the ambiguity associated with food, promoting knowledge of real food ingredients and healthier options that are less bogged down with the preservatives and chemicals needed to store and ship ingredients around the world.

“More and more people are becoming aware of our industrialized, highly processed food system and having to confront the resulting health and quality-of-life issues,” explained Gail Alden, director of marketing and events at Traders Point Creamery. “Eating local, more naturally raised food is one solution that many people are choosing.”

Traders Point offers a prime example of the farm-to-table concept with its onsite restaurant called The Loft, which has a rotating menu with ingredients that are sourced locally. The ingredients usually from the Traders Point farm near Zionsville but sometimes from other local establishments, such as Silverthorn Farm located in Rossville and Full Circle Farm near Whitestown. The menu is made up of seasonal, locally grown goodness like tomatoes and sweet corn in the summer and squashes in the fall, and the meat is locally and humanely processed year round.

And The Loft isn’t the only local farm-to-table eatery by any means. Café Patachou has several locations in Carmel and in and around Indianapolis, and they, too, offer fresh ingredients from local farms, including Silverthorn and Full Hand Farm in Noblesville and many others.

“It directly supports the lifecycle of a local food economy,” Maddy Barnas, marketing director for Patachou Inc., says of the farm-totable movement, “From the plant or animal’s well-being and the farmer’s livelihood to your health.”

In short, the farm-to-table trend takes us back to our roots, serves our local economy, supports health and promotes knowledge surrounding food processes and distribution.

What’s the downside?

By Audrey Coots, Freelance Writer

Read more interesting stories in IndyBOOMER Magazine.

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