The locavore movement (farm to table or farm to fork) has grown explosively since its origins in Boulder, CO in 2001. (Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal, turns out to be one of its founders; who knew?)
The movement, which in all of its ramifications exerts enormous leverage on local economies across the country, is well established in the Twin Cities and beyond in this state. For example here are seven farm-to-table restaurants in Minnesota.
Even those restaurants that don’t lead with “local” in their PR positioning are most likely trying at some level to source increasing amounts of their raw materials from local suppliers.
In fairness to readers from the East Coast, consider these reviews of locavore eateries in Boston; in Western Massachusetts; and even right in Groton (our own Gibbet Hill Grill).
Elsewhere in the US? Here are eight in LA, twenty-one in the Pacific Northwest, and ten across the nation.
As always happens when a cultural buzzword builds up some momentum, entrepreneurs and marketers are quick to hop on for a ride: call it buzzword bandwagon bingo.
It happened with the phrase “Silicon Valley” in the 1990s: hundreds of towns and cities and regions around the world took a swing at branding themselves with some variant of the phrase. In those years I maintained a list of “Siliconia”: Silicon Valley wannabes. By the time I stopped collecting in 2001 the list numbered 79 Siliconia associated with 105 different geographical regions.
And it’s happening with the farm to table movement. Here are a few local examples, followed by a whole lot more from around the country.
Farm to Bottle: the Lakes & Legends Brewing Company in Loring Park, Minneapolis, promotes a series of brews they call Farm to Bottle, featuring locally grown herbs, vegetables, and fruits incorporated into their traditional artisanal Belgian and farmhouse ales.
Plow to Pint: Urban Growler Brewing Company in St. Paul’s St. Anthony Park is an award-winning brewery, the first woman-owned and -run microbrewery in the state. It offers a badged series of brews under the moniker Plow to Pint. Like most true locavore products, these creations have a short and seasonal life on the menu. The currently listed ones include Rhubarb Wit and Hayloft Series 10,000 Plums Barleywine.
Field to Glass: Far North Spirits, near Hallock, Minnesota, takes the locavore and artisanal concepts to some kind of limit. They grow the barley and rye, as well as the herbs, that become their offerings of small-batch rum, gin, and vodka. The couple behind Far North Spirits, Michael Swanson and Cheri Reese, farm these crops themselves and hand-select the ones that will comprise their spirits. This New York wine blogger tells their story in more detail.
Farm to Madness
Here are just a few of the farm to… appropriations I found in a quick search. Those jumping on this particular bandwagon had best hurry, because (to mix a metaphor) there are early signs that the bloom is going off the farm to whatever rose.
The appropriations below are arranged in rough semantic order from nearest to farthest from the neighborhood of the progenitor farm to table.
Farm to fork. This is a program proudly hosted by Sacramento, CA, which city self-declares as the capitol of farm to fork.
Farm to glass. Here is the home of a series of winery tours in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Farm to school. This is in fact a major nationwide movement and series of programs at all levels. The previous link is to the federal initiative from the USDA. Here is a Minneapolis K-12 program.
Farm to tray. The home page for a feed-the-homeless outreach program of Holy Apostle Soup Kitchen in New York City.
Farm to juice. A local commercial operation in the San Antonio, TX, region, offering fresh-pressed raw juices.
Farm to ladle. This Georgia cafe sells soups, salads, sandwiches, and locally sourced herbs and produce.
Farm to freezer. We have two of these. The former link is to a fresh-frozen delivery service based in York, PA; and here is a charitable program in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC to freeze and distribute summer bounty to the homeless.
Farm to pantry. This program advocates and educates about fresh food in underserved New York City neighborhoods.
Farm to office. Here we have healthy snacks from California farms delivered to offices in the Golden State.
Farm to girl. Are we beginning to stretch the metaphor just a bit, hmm? This initiative connects Western consumers with a worldwide network of suppliers of woman-produced oils, balms, and salves. The goal is supporting woman-centric entrepreneurship on a micro scale in the developing world.
Farm to flame. Now we visit a food truck sent out from the Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone, NC.
Farm to tub. Soaps made from goats’ milk, anyone?
Farm to feet. How about some high-thread-count wool socks?
Farm to ballet. In Vermont, this group supports local farms and non-profits by offering classical ballet performances.
By now we have come rather a long distance from farm to table. I expect that many of these small-scale attempts to catch the coattails of a major cultural trend will fade away before too long. In the meantime, it doesn’t cost much to reserve a domain name and stake out a homestead in the farm to… namespace.
In fact, while writing this post I reserved farmtowhatever.com. Someday soon(-ish) it may become a home and repository documenting this (possibly short-lived) phenomenon of cultural appropriation. If so, you’ll read about it here first.
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