Some people want us to assume our food system is taken care of. The groaning aisles of perfectly aligned boxes and “dew-fresh” produce reflect a food system where a tomato is a tomato is a tomato, or an egg is an egg is an egg. Food is a commodity and it’s all the same.
But you, as a friend of Food Day, know very well that isn’t true.
Eggs come from chickens eating many different things, from grass and grubs to antibiotics and arsenic, and are raised in different ways, from pecking on pastures under the warm sun to packed in cages under florescent lights. Regardless of our buying preferences, we can all agree we have a right to the information from an unbiased source.
The team at Real Time Farms wondered if it were possible to trace food back to the farm. By knowing the farm, you would know the food. Rather than being prescriptive, we could simply give consumers the complete picture, so they could decide for themselves.
However, documenting the entire food system is no small goal. There are more than two million farms in the United States alone, along with every food artisan, fisherman, distributor, restaurant, and farmers market. The system is richer when one sees linkages (the path our food takes).
Clearly we can’t accomplish this alone, and we wouldn’t want to. People like you contribute to, and control the data. As you are reading this, people are taking and posting pictures from their farmers market or from their trip to the orchard with their family. They are telling us if the cows are grass-fed, or if the chickens are in the pasture. We are uncovering the information that was previously hidden - together. We are creating a voice for farmers and eaters alike across the country.
This Food Day take 15 minutes on your computer to upload pictures and information about your favorite farmers (and then do the same thing every time you visit the farmers market). The more people who contribute to the database the richer a tool it becomes for everyone.