This past weekend, I was fortunate to be able to partner with Studio 8, Park Hill Farms, and various local farmers, vendors, and artisans throughout our region to bring the first farm to table dinner to fruition in Huntington, WV.
It was a labor of love and took an army of volunteers to pull off, but the photo recap below reveals a glimpse of the fruits of Saturday’s labors. (Additional details can be found on Studio 8 Facebook Page.) From the weeks spent building relationships with local purveyors, to the morning of, waiting in line at the Central City Farmer’s Market to ensure only the freshest ingredients were served, it was a rewarding event worth every ounce of sweat and time spent.
While the notion of Farm to Table or Farm to Fork has been around for some time, its impact is just starting to make waves, especially in our area. With a resurgence of farmer’s markets in our state as well as nation wide, and with community run operations such as The Wild Ramp – a local food hub, eating foods closer to their source is now not only possible, it’s convenient as well.
So what’s all the rage with this movement anyway, you might wonder? Is eating locally grown food simply a trendy way of eating, or is there something more? Skim over the list of points below why I feel that eating from the earth, where you are on the earth is not only beneficial to your health and wellbeing, but the health of your pocketbook, your family, your community, the environment, and our social structure as a whole and most importantly, a movement growing roots and here to stay.
Five Reasons to Shop for Local Foods:
1. Better food: I always talk with my patients about my philosophy that there’s no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food. However, there is ‘junk’, there is ‘food’, and there is ‘better food’! It’s the ‘better food’ that you’ll find at most local markets. If you choose to consume foods closer to their source, there’s no doubt going to be more life giving nutrients and fewer potentially harmful ingredients to throw your body out of sync. Beyond nutrient quality are better taste, better prices, and better service. Never-mind the fact that locally sourced and sustainably harvested foods can improve digestion, decrease allergies, improve immunity, and help to get your body in sync with nature and the cycles of seasons.
2. More options: Small scale, local farming means there is more diversity to be had when it comes to food choices. When farming goes large scale, often, genetic traits are selected for, which will allow the plant to ripen faster and more uniformly, survive longer after picking and time spent traveling or sitting on the shelf. Choosing to buy locally supports the natural life cycle of the plant and ensures a variety of crops to choose from.
3. Food safety: When you purchase a tomato at the farmer’s market, chances are, the person you’re exchanging your pennies with is the same person who grew your tomato. Thus, they take pride in delivering you only the safest foods to eat in hopes you’ll come back to support them again and possibly tell a neighbor how ‘delicious Farmer Brown’s tomatoes are’!
4. Helps families and communities: When growers are able to sell direct to the consumer, or within a local economy, it cuts out the middlemen where much of the profits go. More money in the grower’s pocket means more small farmers stay on their land. When farming families keep their land, this lessens the likelihood the land is sold for development.
5. Helps the environment, and our future: Farms can provide means for a thriving ecosystem. When soil is fertile and water sources are protected, carbon can naturally be sequestered from the atmosphere, which allows for a healthier place for us to work and live. Not to mention, supporting local farms and growers ensures a sustainable and secure food system for our future generations to come.
These are simply a few of the reasons why sourcing foods locally is probably a good idea. I’m sure many of you can think of others and we’d love to hear those too. Post a comment below, send us a message or tweet and let us know where your favorite place to shop local is and why!
Lacy Davidson, MS, RDN, LD, CDE, RYT
(Central City Farmer’s Market / The Wild Ramp – Huntington, WV)
(Cherry Tomatoes – The Capitol Market – Charleston, WV)
(Pre- Dinner Yoga Event – Vino and Vinyasa – Studio 8 & Vu ja De Vineyards)
Practice led by Studio 8’s Sara Limb
(Vino and Vinyasa – Studio 8, Park Hill Farms, and Vu ja De Vineyards)
(Food is Medicine – Farm to Table – Huntington, WV)
(Park Hill Farms – Huntington, WV)
(Chef – Kelly Dial – Branchland, WV)
(Community Effort – Vendors and Volunteers)
(Flower Arrangements: Anna Megyresi)
(Bread – Charleston Bread Company – Charleston, WV)
(Local Wine: Vu Ja De Vineyards – Spencer, WV
Local Spirits: Smooth Ambler – Lewisburg, WV
Mint: Fungolia Farms – Huntington, WV
Cucumber Juice – Central City Farmers Market)
Vendor Information Table and Bar – On display:
J.Q. Dickinson Salt Work – Malden, WV
The Wild Ramp – Huntington, WV
Nourish Appalachia – Huntington, WV
Vu Ja De Vineyards – Spencer, WV
Studio 8 – Huntington, WV
Sous Chef – Park Ferguson
Kitchen Assistant – Daisy St. Clair
Chef – Kelly Dial – Branchland, WV
Main course: WV Trout – White Oak Farms – Beckley, WV
Guests of Food is Medicine – Farm to Table Dinner
Apples – Park Hill Farms – Huntington, WV
Peaches – Hudson Farms – Charleston, WV
Flour – Wisenburger Mills – Midway, KY
Salt – J.Q. Dickinson – Malden, WV
Honey – L2 Apiaries – Wayne, WV
Coffee (not pictured) – Ignition Coffee Roasters – Huntington, WV
Music – Mark Smith (Guitar)
Host – Sam St. Clair (Harmonica)