A groundbreaking companywide initiative to buy locally.
See Farm to fork in action: Watch this short video about University of Washington in St. Louis's relationship with Rain Crow Ranch
Our Farm to Fork program is about investing in the health of our communities and the future of our food supply.
In search of the freshest, best tasting ingredients, Bon Appétit chefs have always purchased produce and artisan-made goods locally. However, we didn’t think of local purchasing as a “political act,” but merely as the way to get the highest-quality products. In 1999 we came to a turning point. We realized how much flavor was being lost in exchange for agribusiness efficiencies and decided to begin a concerted effort in support of local farmers to preserve flavor on the plate.
We launched a companywide commitment to buying locally, called Farm to Fork. We require our chefs to purchase at least 20 percent of their ingredients from small (under $5 million in sales), owner-operated farms and ranches located within 150 miles of their kitchens. These gems of the earth are often prepared and served within 48 hours of harvest. The result is healthier communities and customers.
By buying directly from farmers, we have much more control over what types of agribusiness we are supporting. We support true family farms where the owners live on or nearby the land, work it themselves and therefore are conscientious stewards. We also support farmers who are preserving the diversity of our food choices by planting heirloom vegetables rather than genetically modified "super-produce."
Bon Appétit now spends tens of millions of dollars per year with small local farmers, ranches, and artisanal food businesses (which have to source the majority of their ingredients locally, with an exception made for coffee roasters). In 2011, we defined a new mid-size category for regional meat producers, and also launched a companion seafood program, called Fish to Fork.
Buying 100% locally is not yet practical, but the commitment we have made to Farm to Fork will help ensure that our community can eat well today and tomorrow.