You might see messages about “farm to fork” eating or eating locally. But what does that mean?

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FARM TO FORK

Farm to fork is a term used to talk about the idea of eating locally, with a focus on sourcing from local farms, growers and producers. In fact, Sacramento is considered the Farm to Fork Capital, due to its proximity to fresh fruits, veggies and meat. However, farm to fork, also known as farm to table, does not have a government-regulated definition.


LOCAL FOOD

“Eating locally” is a term that describes choosing foods that were grown or raised near you. Since the term isn’t
government-regulated, it’s interpreted differently depending on who you are and where you live. For some, “local food” is produced within 100 miles of you; for others, it originates in the same state. In some areas, it might even be neighboring states!

Fresh produce has been shown to lose certain nutrients the longer it takes to reach customers.(1) Because local fruits and vegetables travel a shorter distance to the customer, they can often retain more nutritional value. Local food may also have a lower carbon footprint, meaning fewer non-renewable resources like petroleum are used in their transport, and as a result fewer greenhouse gases are generated.


SUSTAINABLE

“Sustainable” is an unregulated term that’s often used to describe ecologically-friendly agricultural labels, such as
organic, biodynamic, fair trade certified and humane certified.

The USDA has a broad definition of “sustainable agriculture” as a food production system that enhances environmental quality, encourages the use of natural and biological inputs, supports the agricultural economy and uses non-renewable resources efficiently.(2)

Various organizations have their own definitions, but the general consensus is that sustainable agriculture promotes concern for the environment, human health, animal welfare and economic viability so future generations have access to the same resources.

References:

1. Is Local More Nutritious? It Depends. Retrieved from
http://www.chgeharvard.org/sites/default/files/resources/local_nutrition.pdf on 24-Aug-2016.

2. Definitions of Sustainable Agricultural Development. Retrieved from
http://www.usda.gov/oce/sustainable/definitions.htm on 24-Aug-2016.

 

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