Can Eating Together Make You Healthier?

Can Eating Together Make You Healthier?

Farm to Table.

Sounds fantastic.  Makes you feel good about eating at the restaurants that claim this way of bringing you closer to the farm from which the food came.  I can personally say I would get a tad smug knowing that I ate from a farm to table restaurant.  I’d puff out my chest a bit more.  I felt like I had done the world a favor and therefore deserved a multitude of good karma.

Did I though?  Does farm to table alone mean that I have done this earth a solid?  Did I help out the little guy with the red barn, white picket fence and happy animals?  Did I eat organically grown produce and pastured livestock? Or did I just eat from the guy down the street?

I think these are valid questions and hold merit.  However, do the words “local” and “farm to table” do ENOUGH?

Quite simply the answer is no.  I’ve learned over the past couple years to know that the importance relies in the act of community.  Just going to a farm to table restaurant isn’t enough to impact anything more than the restaurant’s bottom line.    It might keep the restaurant interested in sourcing from particular farms but ultimately that will change.

I’m not trying to discourage you from visiting your local farm to table establishment and eating the local fare.  I want to encourage you to not let your good intention stop there.

Go to the farmer’s market.  Talk to the farmers.  Build a relationship.  They are good people fighting hard to put food on your plates, as well as keep it on their own.

Go and visit farms near you.  They might not have that perfect red barn, that’s okay.  Ask the farmers questions.  Don’t be afraid to sound dumb, you are learning.

Ben and his daughter at Moon Dog Farms
  Ben and his daughter at Moon Dog Farms

It all stems from community.  I threw that word out there a little earlier.  My good friend Geoffrey Smith has taught me quite a bit about the true meaning of the word.

Food used to be at the center of community.  It was something we shared amongst neighbors.  It sat on the table for regular family dinners.  It wasn’t a thing of convenience.  It wasn’t just calories.  It held meaning.  It brought us together.

Let’s bring that back.  Let’s remove the meaning of farm to table.  That’s how food should be.  It shouldn’t be the buzz word to get you in the door.  We can make it the norm.  Just takes a little effort.

-Bring back the family meal.  Even if it’s one night a week.  Sit down with your family.  Turn off the tv, put down the cell phone, close that laptop.  Engage your spouse.

Buy a freezer. What a great tool a freezer can be.  You can buy your protein in bulk and store it for your convenience.  Win for you and win for the farmer you bought it from.  Odds are, it’s cheaper per pound than buying from your local supermarket.

-Know a farmer. I can’t emphasize this one enough.  You don’t have to know everything about them.  Notice I didn’t put Facebook friend request them.  Make their acquaintance, buy their product, and recommend them to your friends.  Volunteer at their place, make educational videos with them (or just watch ours), and visit them at markets.

Ben and the Wise Bearded One (Geoffrey Smith)
Ben & the Wise Bearded One (Geoffrey Smith)

If we all did these things, we’d find that our health would improve.  We would be eating better quality food more often.  We would be engaging with people in true social ways.  Another win-win.  Slimmer waistlines and happier communities.

So like I said, let’s bring back food.  No buzz words, no feel goods, just good quality food.  We can do it.

You’d be surprised how many Gainz begin on the community farm.

Ben MacMillan

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