What does farm-to-table mean?

Concept eliminates the intermediary between rural producers and consumers to deliver fresh food from the field directly to the table

Farm-to-table is a concept that, loosely translated, means “from farm to table”. The expression, created in the United States and popular in European countries, means that the food being served on a person's table restaurant or from home came directly from farmers, without having gone through intermediaries such as the food industry, a distributor or a supermarket.

The term is used to define the direct relationship between those who plant and those who consume (both restaurants and individuals. In an article for the Metropolis website, gastronomic critic André Rochadel states that the farm-to-table reflects a “clear increase in quality” in what is served by restaurants. 

He explains that this happens because the flavors and colors of food are more vivid. Furthermore, the cost is lower and there are environmental benefits, such as the reduction of polluting gas emissions, since the transport chain is reduced. The critic states that there is already a 2.0 version of the movement, in which chefs they design their menus based on specific plantations.

O farm-to-table is also a movement to promote local food, as shown in the Convivium, extension project of the Department of Gastronomy at UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro). “Some restaurants purchase their products from local businesses and producers, boosting the local economy and bringing more quality and safety to what is served,” says the article.

The benefits of farm-to-table

According to the website The Spruce Eats, both producers, restaurants and consumers reap benefits from farm-to-table. Those who plant crops earn more from the sale, as there are fewer intermediaries. The establishments benefit from the freshness of the food, which is generally delivered hours after being harvested, and the possibility of having items that are not always available for sale.

“In some cases, restaurants and farms may have such a strong relationship that farmers grow produce specifically requested by the chef or restaurant, guaranteeing the purchase of a certain percentage (or even all) of a crop,” the article says. .

According to the researcher Roslynn Brain, from the University of Utah, there are four benefits of purchasing directly from rural producers by restaurant owners or end consumers:


Financial return for rural producers, keeping money circulating through the local economy and greater customer attraction for restaurants that buy raw materials directly from the source.


Lower fuel consumption, promotion of sustainable farming practices and preservation of local and smaller-scale agricultural areas.


Reducing the risk of food security and greater likelihood of choosing healthy eating


Strengthening the sense of community and relationships between rural producers, restaurants and consumers

How to deploy farm-to-table in business

Due to its territorial extension, the distance between rural producers and large consumer centers and the bureaucracy to prove organic cultivation, the farm-to-table is not so present in Brazil, explains the website of Senac (National Commercial Learning Service) of Santa Catarina (SC). But the entity lists four tips for restaurant owners who want to implement the concept in their business:

  • Go to fairs and get in touch with the producers who are selling their products there.
  • Explore the rural areas of cities (and neighboring municipalities) to find out who produces and sells their products.
  • Visit the plantations to learn about the production process and make sure the food is of the desired quality.
  • Think about the menu seasonally, to save on purchasing products and offer freshness to customers.

If there is doubt as to whether an establishment really supplies food directly from the producer, as stated in the farm-to-table, or if you're just looking to ride the wave, here's a tip from The Spruce Eats website for the end consumer: “any place that mentions the concept must be able to name the specific farm(s) from which it purchased the products."

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