Farm-to-table (or farm-to-fork, and in some cases farm-to-school) is a social movement which promotes serving local food at restaurants and school cafeterias, preferably through direct acquisition from the producer (which might be a winery, brewery, ranch, fishery, or other type of food producer which is not strictly a “farm”).

Fast-casual meets farm-to-table

More recently restaurateurs have tried to democratize the farm-to-table movement by opening fast-casual restaurants that offer locally sourced food at a relatively affordable price point. Sweetgreen, a farm-to-table salad chain has experienced exponential growth since opening in 2007 in Washington D.C, and now has more than 60 locations across the United States.[3] The salad bar chain, started on the premise of sourcing food as locally as possible. The chain “works with more than 500 farmers” to limit the distance food travels across all their locations, requiring each region to build relationships with their local farm community.[8] In New York, another fast-casual concept, Dig Inn, has gained popularity with their “farm-to-counter” model.[9] Consumer interest is high enough that Applebee’s has even explored the farm-to-table concept. Over the summer of 2014, the chain released a location-specific menu option: the Grilled Vidalia Onion Sirloin, in Georgia. It took six months to plan and was only available for a limited period.[10]

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