Though the state of Michigan as a whole has begun to support the farm to table movement, Grand Rapids has wholeheartedly embraced the idea of eating and drinking local with the farm to table, or farm to fork, movement. As an addition to the plethora of existing restaurants with a farm to table mission, there have been countless revisions and brand new restaurants popping up on a continuous basis around West Michigan.
As a personal proponent of the farm to table and eat/drink local movement, I’m thrilled that our community of West Michigan has focused importance on the positive influences a farm to table movement has on the people and community involved. As a prelude to the specific restaurants and businesses involved in this movement in West Michigan, it’s important to understand what it means to adopt the farm to table mission and what you can do personally to live locally.
The concept of farm to table insists that the food on the table comes directly from a specific farm. In terms of farm to table restaurants, the restaurant holds a direct relationship with the farm and should be able to name the specific farm(s) from which they are sourcing their ingredients. Adopting a farm to table mission supports the thought that there is inherent value in placing quality over accessibility and ease, and locally sourced food and drink is generally healthier and more nutritious as it is local, natural, and unaltered.
The goals associated with a farm to table mission and movement are to maintain a food’s organic health benefits and nutritional quality, improve the economic strength of local farms, avoid the use of genetically modified foods, boost variety in the types of foods available to a region, and decrease the environmental influence and carbon footprint of factory farms and mass food production.
Looking to adopt the farm to table and eat local movement in your everyday life? There are simple ways to begin the transition such as: learning what’s in season, shop at farmer’s markets, join community supported agriculture (CSA), shop at stores that label food origins, shop at the perimeter of grocery stores (where food is more likely to be fresh and unprocessed), plant a garden of your own, choose restaurants that source locally and frequent locally-owned food producers. When local is unavailable, the next best option is to buy family farmed or fair trade products.
There are a number of fantastic restaurants in West Michigan adopting the farm to table movement; however, a few stand out as my very favorite and most common choices.
What is your favorite farm to table restaurant in West Michigan?
Photo credit: smruti_damania