Rebecca D. Thomas

A global impact blog, searching for innovative & forward-thinking ideas in business, design, travel, food, & fashion. Promoting a Circular Economy. Let's make learning fun!

Food that Works: My Farm to Table Tour (read time 5 minutes)

Greetings! Spring has fully sprung! Well, maybe not at my brother’s house in Pennsylvania, where they keep seeing snow storm after snow storm! Soon, brother, a thaw will come…
This will be my final blog post for my Nexus class. I’d like to thank the Patel College, my instructor, Dr. Culhane, and my classmates for the opportunity to engage in experiential learning. I thought that a special restaurant tour would be a good way to round out the class.
What is the Farm to Table concept, exactly? How did it originate, and what did it set out to be? As you know, when a buzzword or phrase becomes popular, companies will snatch it up, put a spin on it, and use it in their media campaigns. I’ve seen this phrase used in IBM commercials, and Blue Apron ads. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, I’m just not sure that an initiative is truly “Farm to Table” when the amount of food travel miles are high.
According to Food, Energy, and Water: The Chemistry Connection, “Food security would exist when all people at all times have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to meet dietary needs and food preferences”; and, “Food production processing and distribution require major amounts of water and energy.”
I commend the following restaurants that give us a “forward” way to look at the future of food access and distribution. First up, Damfino’s. This restaurant is the brainchild of Fred and Lucy Harris of Full Earth Farms, along with other food-forward thinking friends. Damfino’s uses food harvested from Full Earth, and other farms within a 100- mile radius. I love this place!

Oh yeah, and a trip to a North Florida Roadside Boiled Peanut Stand should be on everyone’s bucket list 😉

Next, I spoke with Tyler Rice from Backwoods Crossing.  This is not your ordinary restaurant. Not even close! This is, literally, a Backyard Garden to Table establishment! You kind of must see it to believe it. Backwoods grows seasonal vegetables, on-site! They have a Garden Creations menu, where you may order a dish spontaneously prepared, based on what’s growing in the garden.
Backwoods composts their excess vegetables, which is added to the gardens, along with some mushroom compost.
They also use rabbit manure, which is rich in nutrients, and beneficial for crops. But they don’t use store-bought poop: Backwoods has working bunnies, on site! And they are too cute!
No store-bought eggs, either! Their hens have plenty of room to roam, and a nice view of the beautiful garden.
Backwoods Crossing’s goal is to become a self-sustaining establishment, where everything they need comes from them, moving away from store-bought items, to a menu full of ingredients that they’ve rendered, and a place where you can look out the window, and waive to your farmer. I think they are well on their way! Find them on Instagram
How will I apply what I’ve learned this semester? Will I drive five minutes to the national grocery store chain, where I’ll find food that has traveled very far, or will I drive for 10 more minutes to visit my local garden or farmer’s market, where my meal is straight out of the local dirt?
Learning about where my food comes from has been such a rewarding experience. To enjoy the outdoors, and discover something as simple as where to find locally-grown food, yet so complex and meaningful, that it brings about a great deal of satisfaction.
What do you think? Are there Farm to Table Initiatives in your town? I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and thank you for reading!

Quincy, home to Damfino’s

Great story behind the sign,

Open for business!

Bounty!

Hungry yet?

Tour Time!

Beauties!

I’m fascinated with Hugelkultur, and I was so happy to see it up close and personal, for the first time.

See the logs sticking out of the dirt! My first time seeing this, and learning the correct pronunciation! 😊

Corn is coming along nicely!

Composting!

Brussel Sprouts!

Thank you, Tyler!!

My brother's front-porch view! :/



28 comments

  1. Reference: Food, Energy, and Water: The Chemistry Connection, 2015. El Sevier.

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  2. Awesome pictures, keep up the good work!

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  3. What an interesting post Rebecca! Watching the whole process of making of food from start to finish gives another level of satisfaction. It certainly makes us more mindful and appreciative of the food we eat and the hard work that goes into making it. Thank you for giving us an insight into the concept of farm to table. :D

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    1. Thank you, Jigeesha! I agree, it’s been an eye-opening experience! I’m enjoying your blog, you’re doing great!!

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  4. Such an interesting post Rebecca. I love the idea of Farm to Table and in Western Australia it's a big thing and fresh produce without a big carbon footprint is one of the things our very special Margaret River region is renowned for too. (Thanks for visiting my blog earlier too)

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    1. It’s so great to connect with someone from Australia! I’m sure you are familiar with Bill Mollison, he is the author of one of my textbooks, Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual. I refer to it in my March 16 post. I’ve seen several videos of perma-culturalists from Australia, I would love to visit, one day!

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  5. Really great idea to see the whole proces of making food.
    Amazing post, thanks for sharing!

    jointyicroissanty

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    1. Thank you! I had no idea what went on “behind the scenes”, I have not paid much attention to all the hard work that goes on, to prepare nutritious food. I have a lot to learn,

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  6. Oh, the Farm to Table sounds like such a cool concept! I actually had a similar theme week while in school - thus, just in primary school and therefore a more basic level ;) I love the idea of the Backyard Garden to Table. So cute!

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    1. Oh, I love the idea of this being taught in primary school! I saw on the news, several months ago, where children were having trouble identifying vegetables. Basic farming principles, perhaps, should be a part of the 1st-5th grade curriculum,

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  7. It's a very good idea. Congs Rebecca. We don't have a farm to table restaurant, in fact in those days we're reading disturbing things about food sector such as vegetables with high rate pessimistics, gdo food and so on, they say Ergene river has been poisoned so much and the rice etc. is being watered with this polluted water:( now I'm afraid of all kind of foods..:( they say strawberries are poisoned:( I don't what to do? We people don't have gadgets to calculate or measure the poison ratings in fruits or vegetables....( there are some farms which they say they're producing organic, safe food but they are expensive.....I mean in my country things are in a mess...:( Regards...

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I am consulting others, to see if I can get some advice for you. This is very eye-opening for me to read! Are there people in your region that are interested in Aquaponics or Hydroponics, or other ways to grow food? Perhaps working with a small community group to start a local or backyard garden? This sounds like a very difficult issue, especially the river pollution, but I am always looking for solutions. Much love to you, and I will post more information, soon,

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    2. Anything you can do to provide for your own food security would be good, not in a hoarding way, but in a way to share with others. Are there fruits or vegetables that grow well in Turkey? I’ve asked Saving Food to provide some input,
      https://savingfood.eu/

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    3. Hey Rebecca, this is John Q from Professor Culhane's class, and the NEXUS group. There are a lot systemic issues that need to be worked out in the entire water basin to address the sheer volume of pollution that is being produced. Soil and water sampling are extremely necessary for dealing with one publication I read stated is "black tar, more than an actual river flowing into the sea." There are some things that people can do locally to fix this.
      First the fact that rice is extremely toxic in the region is not surprising. Rice is amazing at absorbing materials which has caused issues around the world. There are even health warnings about consuming too much rice because of its arsenic levels. Most swampy areas have plants that have are really good at filtering and absorbing these sorts of materials. And it is exactly that methodology that can be applied to alleviating (note the word choice, as this is not a true fix) the situation. There are a number of plants that can ingest large amounts of pollutants without being harmed themselves. A great example are magnolias and sunflowers around nuclear cites. Around Chernobyl and now Fukishima, these hardy plants are absorbing nuclear waste to help cleanse the soil. These plants are then harvested and removed leaving the soil healthier than it once was. Without knowing which compounds are present in the soil and water, a cocktail of plant filters cannot really be prescribed. I have a link below to help get the wheels of thought turning:
      http://homeguides.sfgate.com/plants-absorb-pollutants-68200.html

      The next recommendation is to adjust the organization of one's farm. This link goes into detail about how to reorganize one's land to help support sustainable agriculture. The pesticides and fertilizers that are used and wash into the river are a major problem that should be road blocked so that the problem can be reduced. In addition, the actual structure of the plants should have a water break of filtering plants that can be used to clean the water before it flows down towards the river. This helps prevent runoff.
      https://www.pmfias.com/sustainable-agriculture-organic-farming-biofertilizers/

      For helping fix local needs for agriculture, a change to rain fed system should be undertaken. The climate of Kesan and Edirene do have rough parallels to the climate around the central/western part of Texas near Abilene. This area of receives similar rainfall totals, and while the temperature does drop lower, it is not so much lower that agricultural planning cannot be compared. A planning for a more arid environment should be tried with more seasonable crop rotation. Plants that grow well in arid climates like millet could be introduced to supplement or replace local grain crops. To help give you a start, I have provided a link to a collection of farms (both traditional and sustainable) that offer some really good ideas:
      https://www.localharvest.org/abilene-tx/farms

      I hope this helps.

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    4. Thank you, John, this is extremely helpful! Noted correction: It should be marigolds, not magnolias, around nuclear sites. Thank you again!

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  8. Nice post, great photos!! I've enjoyed learning about your school program. Very interesting! Thank you for taking us with you on this journey! All my best, hugs, Leslie

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  9. That is so cool and very interesting!

    http://www.alessabernal.com/
    Alessa Bernal

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    1. Hi Alessa! Thank you for visiting, I hope you are doing well!

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  10. We are lucky to live nearby a lot of farmers markets, it's very easy to get fresh locally made food and produce in Australia and even the big super markets label when things come from local producers which is awesome :) nice to read your experiences and tour! :)

    Hope you are having a nice week so far! It's a good one for me as we have a day off here and I'm planning to relax a little, as much as the kids allow, ha! :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

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    1. Hi Mica!! So good to hear from an Australian, home to Permaculture!! Thank you for visiting!

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  11. Hi, Rebecca, first of I thank both yours and John Q's answers.
    Turkey was a very successful and luckly country about fruits and vegetables. But I used past tense because now the situation have changed. In old days we Turkish people were boasting about
    our beautiful fruits, vegetables, they were both in good quality and plenty (ı mean we didn't have to export fruit or vegetables from other countries),

    I'm living in Ankara and I have returned the apples to the market since they were smelling bad chemicals like something we smell to kill insects maybe I was paranoid I don't know but I think I know how an apple should smell..)

    I searched in google and found this about aquaponics (I must admit I didn't know this)
    We have a small garden but we have some cats in the garden and we're taking care for them and protecting their kittens from dogs and so on. There are 2 big pine trees, cats and roses but not suitable to growing food I suppose.....

    All I can do not to buy rice from Trakya (Ergene river)region. Also I give up buying strawberries in fact they were odd shaped and they have no taste, no sugar at all, the last summer even the cheeries were tasteless I don't kknow the reason, apricots as well. I think if something is apricot or cherry it should sweet as honey, but no, they are expensive and tasteless.....:(

    I wish I can grow my own fruits and vegetables like you:)
    Regards, have a nice day.

    ps. I was late to respond because I fell at home while taking the curtains from window:( I have too much pain...but luckly no broken rib.

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  12. sorry, this is the link:
    http://www.gelbalder.org/balik-yetistiriciligi/2861-aquaponic-sistemler-balik-ve-sebzenin-birlikte-yetistiriciligi.html

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  13. Oh, a little bit detal:
    I heard at the evening news, they say in Trakya Ergene region people even little children are dying because of cancer...:( :( the doctors are helpless , they say some patients had afraid of going to the hospital to hear that they have cancer too....:(
    in short, they spoild, ruined my beautiful country....:(

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    1. I am just now seeing this, because, for some reason, I am not seeing notifications in my inbox, when people leave a comment ☹ I’m sorry!! Turkey is beautiful, one of my classmates, Ozlem, is there now, I’m going to ask her if she can comment. I hope you are doing well, is it very hot there, like in the States?

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  14. Not at all, thanks fine. I hope you're fine too. Ankara is hot as well but inside of the houses are ok. :)

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