We missed this article in The New York Times over the weekend, but reader mschatelaine gave us the heads up in our most recent Open Thread. The story is about one company's mission to help customers connect with the farmers who grow and harvest their food. It's not only educational for us as consumers; it also holds companies accountable. More eyes on the source equals fewer shortcuts and unhealthy practices (we hope).
A while ago we wrote about Murray's putting tracking codes on their chickens. And this new article mentions a few other companies doing something similar.
Is it a gimmick? Or a new trend?
Stone-Buhr Flour is the company behind the Find the Farmer website. They decided to highlight the farmers who are growing the wheat. Customers type in their flour's code and can read all about the people behind it. You can even ask the farmers questions. It's like a virtual greenmarket.
Apparently Dole has codes on their organic bananas, allowing customers to learn about the farms in Central and South America that grow the fruit. Granted, the company can put whatever they want on the website—smiling employees, clean factories... But it's still a step in the right direction, connecting us eaters with the people who grow our food. Just having a mental link helps us make more conscious decisions about what we're putting into our mouths, and, if this becomes the norm, we think it will keep companies more honest.
• Read the article: Forging a Hot Link to the Farmer Who Grows the Food, from The New York Times
• Visit Find the Farmer
Related: New Trick: How to Track Your Chicken Back to the Farm