Career Resources

Dietitians: Join The Farm To Table Movement

Farm to Table

Join The Farm To Table Movement

Local, Sustainable, and Organic are some of the hottest words right now in the food industry. This trend is so big that movements have been made such as the Farm To Table (or Farm To Fork) Movement. Farm To Table refers to providing locally grown food from farmers to serve to local consumers. The movement supports many organic farming initiatives, sustainable agriculture, and community-supported mini-farms (such as having a community garden for education and food production).

This article will discuss how you can get involved with the Farm To Table Movement and bring it to your workplace, home, and community.

Stacia Clinton, RD, LDN, 2012-2013 Hunger & Environmental Nutrition (HEN) Dietetic Practice Group Chair and Coordinator for Health Care Without Harm, explains how careers in the Farm To Table Movement are flourishing right now  from food service directors in institutions such as schools and hospitals to sustainability consultants at corporations to chefs and consultants providing cooking classes and trainings to connect people to their food source.

How can you get involved?

#1. Get educated on the movement, advises Lisa Dierks, RD, LD, Ambassador for the Speaker Grant Bureau at HEN and clinical nutrition manager at the Mayo Clinic.

 

#2. Ask questions how you can make a difference. For example, Dierks asks “Do you purchase your lunch at your worksite? Have you ever talked to your worksite food service director about Farm To Table?” By asking these questions, you can find out where your food comes from and make changes within your immediate environment by educating others about Farm To Table.

 

#3. Implement a Farm To Table program at work, home, or your community. Lisa McDowell, MS, RD, CNSD, CSSD, Director of Nutrition at St. Joseph Mercy Health System and dietitian for the Detroit Red Wings Hockey team, started the Farm To Table (Tray) Movement at her hospital by turning 20 acres into farmland to grow produce all year round for the patients menu and cafeteria and include a weekly farmers market at the hospital for patients and locals to get fresh produce. In addition, McDowell has brought the Farm To Table Movement to pro sports by having the hockey team players and their children come to the farm to learn, work, and eat fresh food. McDowell also incorporates seasonal produce into the hockey players’ fueling plans.

 

Some potential challenges for the Farm To Table Movement include staying cost neutral in order to offset labor costs, informs McDowell. A solution to this is to incorporate volunteers and interns for farming or developing menu cards. Clinton advises to overcome the challenge of educating people by informing the public about how important it is to purchase locally produced, minimally processed food produced without chemicals. The more education the public has, the easier it will be to implement the movement.

 

The Farm To Table Movement can be truly rewarding for both our environment and our health. Dierks recently spoke to doctors regarding Food Policy Councils and was able to provide pertinent information regarding the food system from production to processing to transport to consumer eating in order to further educate and make change from within. Through simple purchasing decisions, you can make a difference with your food options and food supply. Clinton concludes, “it feels good to promote health and wellness rather than treat sickness.”

What’s on your local menu today?

For more information on how you can get involved and make changes within your community, workplace, or home, check out these websites:

Hunger & Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group

The Farm At St. Joe’s Ann Arbor

Healthy Food in Health Care Program

Sarah Koszyk is founder of Family. Food. Fiesta. A family-based wellness program and blog focusing on recipes, family health tips, and videos with kids cooking in the kitchen. She is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach specializing in sports nutrition and adult and pediatric weight management. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or LinkedIn.

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