CategoryAgriculture and Farming

The rise of farm-to-table restaurant concepts

Everyone in the food industry has seen the increase of the healthy food demand and how consumers nowadays choose fresh and organic products over their genetically modified and preservative-enhanced counterparts. While fast food chains and traditional food houses remain popular, ‘organic’ restaurants are gaining momentum. So what propelled such change?


The truth is, experts suggest that the idea of choosing organic and natural is nothing new. It is rather just a comeback of the “real” food—and restaurant owners especially in the U.S. are starting to realize that this food choice trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  This is where the farm-to-table movement entered the scene.


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The farm-to-table movement in the food business is centered on the rise of home-grown restaurant concept with its key passion of providing sustainable and locally-sourced meals to their customers. In fact, the popularity of this kind of foodservice can be credited to how consumers started to care more about what actually goes into their tummy and where they come from.


Going organic and home-grown does not just benefit the industry but also the customers that it serves. For instance, restaurant owners can enjoy a limitless source of creativity in experimenting with different flavors, thanks to the availability of newly grown herbs and other seasonal produce.


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Choosing organic through a farm-to-table concept for restaurant owners also offer a long list of advantages. Locally-sourced ingredients and home-grown produce give them the opportunity not only to try out new recipes and flavor combinations but also to introduce a whole new set of exceptional food choices.


Lastly, having a kitchen garden means emphasizing fresh and healthy servings for your patrons. Most health-conscious consumers prefer homegrown ingredients and locally produced meals for several reasons other than enjoying the benefits of fresh and healthy food consumption. One is, they are able to experience seasonal ingredients and unique flavors that other type of restaurants cannot offer.


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The food business as a whole is a trillion-dollar industry that is staple to virtually all countries, and in many cases, it defines a specific culture. In the restaurants segment, it is the most popular place for urban residents, employees, entrepreneurs, and even ordinary individuals. With the farm-to-table concept on rise, new trends will eventually emerge and niche investors are always on the lookout to tap into these potentially viable businesses.

REPOST: HDB farmers in a concrete jungle

Ever heard of ‘high rise farmers?’ They are those who live in, well, high-rise residential buildings growing some food either on their terrace or inside their own home. These urban growers make efficient use of space and turn them into edible gardens where they can harvest some of their culinary needs. Here’s an interesting feature from The Straits Times:

Ms Kit Yong with her Sand Ginger herb. She has about 80 pots of plants, and she spends about 15 to 20 minutes watering them every morning. | ST PHOTO: CHEW SENG KIM

Whoever says you need a big plot of land to be a farmer has never met Ms Kit Yong, 56.

Like 80 per cent of the population, she lives in an HDB flat.

But tell her that you have a craving for the sweet and sour passion fruit and she might tell you to pick one right off a vine outside her flat if the fruit is in season.

The real estate agent grows more than 20 types of vegetables, herbs and fruits – from chye sim and kale to rosemary and passion fruit – along the 20m stretch of corridor outside her Tampines home.

Ms Yong, who estimates she has 80 pots of plants, is a member of a growing community of individuals passionate about farming within an urban setting.

Community gardens, started by the National Parks Board through the Community in Bloom movement, now number close to 1,000. Residents are turning plots of land beside HDB blocks into vegetable and fruit patches.

Continue reading HERE.

Money in the backyard: The economic benefits of organic farming

An old but underrated practice that is now a growing concept for the new millennium, organic farming can be the most practical and healthiest way to boost food production and address food insecurity.


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Organic farming is an alternative principle to conventional farming: growing food without the use of synthetic chemicals, artificial fertilizers, genetically modified species, and excessive irrigation. Food insecurity, rapid environmental deterioration, and the rise in the number of people consuming contaminated farm produce made organic farming more popular in recent years. The number of organic growers is rapidly rising and more individuals are finding immense nutritional benefits from eating clean, fresh, and chemical-free farm products.


Organic farming has traditionally been viewed as a cost ineffective strategy to producing food—despite its claims for very minimal environmental and health repercussions. Maintenance isn’t cheap and final prices in the markets could be skyrocketing. However, according to a study conducted by the American Society of Agronomy, organic farming is in fact economically sustainable over the long term.


“An analysis of 18 years of crop yield and farm management data from a long-term trial, an organic crop rotation was consistently more profitable and carried less risk of low returns than conventional corn and soybean production, even when organic prime premiums were cut by half.”


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Setting up organic farms can come with a high price tag, especially when advanced technology is employed (such as LED chlorophyll activation). Upfront costs can easily overwhelm any investor and will inevitably drive high product prices once it gets operational.  However, the landscape for organic agriculture is rapidly changing. New farming techniques have been proven to be economically viable and government subsidies are growing. In closed looped organic farms (particularly aquaponics), for example, water is conserved tremendously as it is used in a cyclic but healthy way.  In vertical farms, production is more than tripled when compared to a traditional farm land covering the same area.


In regions where strong community relationships exist, organic farms thrive as a private and minimally capitalistic livelihood. Community-based organic farms contribute to good health and nutrition for the population, equal wealth opportunities among farmers, better connections between people (because food is a critical aspect of ethnic cultures), and more liberal decisions for farmers, not corporations, to decide which crops to grow in their farms.


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There is vast potential within the organic farming community for growers, investors, and consumers to tap into. The industry is yet to peak, but as analysts and experts point out, it can be a lucrative opportunity over the long haul.

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