Farm to table cooking where the food on the table comes directly from a specific farm is certainly the best way to eat. For many people locally sourced, seasonal food with a direct link to the producer is the ultimate form of consumer confidence with a capital G (greener).
Italians have always realized the importance of freshness and quality of ingredients with over 50,000 farms in Italy committed to growing produce by natural methods. Italians truly value food. It begins with the growing of the food, the selling of the food at the market and extends to the careful and considerate preparation of the food that is brought to the table.
But as in most countries buying direct from the farm to table isn’t always possible. Enter Italian Mario Pianesi, founder of Un Punto Macrobiotico (UPM) an association dedicated to a macrobiotic way of living. For those who cannot source farm direct, Pianesi has proposed an alternative way for consumers to know the intimate details of where their food comes from. It’s called transparent labeling with information on the “entire food chain from farm to shop shelf”. Full and open disclosure is given including the location of the farm that grows the food, the area and amount harvested, the year of the harvest, the number of people employed, and the specifics of the farming method, such as the origin of the seed, how the sowing is done, what kind (if any) of organic fertilizer is used, amount of energy used, amount of water and irrigation used, weed control and details of processing. Pianesi is now trying to get his labeling system approved by the Italian government.
Food transparency whether on principle, politics or pragmatism translates into a greater awareness of what we eat and that translates into a healthy satisfaction and appreciation of the land and hands that feeds us.
*More than a hundred UPM macrobiotic centers are located throughout Italy including restaurants, shops and production centers for natural clothing, décor and footwear where Pianesi’s philosophy of the macrobiotic lifestyle, diet and “polyculture” agricultural methods are promoted.