Saturday, October 25, 2008
FOOD: Production Facilities: Farmer's Diner
For regional food economies to grow and mature, local food must become more affordable. Some of the costs associated with local food are a product of the regulations that govern the processing of meats, dairy products and other farm goods.
HOW IT WORKS
Founded in 1999, the Farmers Diner spends 65 percent of its food budget within 70 miles of the restaurant. It is not a high-end restaurant, but a reasonably priced establishment committed to making locally sourced meals affordable by combining time-tested restaurant-chain basics with environmentally responsible operations. Having proven the model the Farmers Diner is in the process of adding two more restaurants in Vermont.
The next step will be to establish a regional, government-inspected commissary that serves a group of local restaurants. The commissary will spare restaurants from the demand of selecting fresh, local vegetables and meats from a network of regional farms. Centralizing processes eases the regulatory burdens that would otherwise be assumed by the farm.
The Farmers Diner business model pays small farmers more than they would normally receive for their goods. By sourcing food locally it creates a real demand for more local organic farming operations while reducing the overall carbon footprint of the meals it produces.
+ Simplifies local food purchasing
+ Centralizes local food processing
+ Invests money in the regional community