Often, it means choosing between one’s personal health and making exceptions for locally-sourced food. Pretty much by definition, farm-to-table food is seasonal. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be locally sourced. If you have food allergies or even if you just can’t stand to eat certain foods, this can put a serious crimp on your food choices.
Even for people without food allergies, it can be difficult to maintain a well-balanced diet without having food imported from different parts of the world. This is especially true in the winter months. Yes, canning and jarring can help you build up a surplus of local food for the winter, but it’s still unrealistic to simply say people can continue the farm-to-table practice year-round with some planning a little gumption. There’s a reason that families who take on this type of project—or the ones who live an entire year without making more than a few bags of trash—end up as click-bait Internet stories. Because they’re the exception that proves the rule.
For all but the most devout followers of the food-to-table movement, there is no need for absolutism and purity. If people increased their locally-sourced food by 20 or even 10 percent, we would already be doing a ton of good for the long-term sustainability of the environment and agricultural production. That’s an argument we can get behind.
But to suggest that people should overcome their squeamishness and strictly control everything they eat by what’s available within a few hundred miles of their home is simply not practical. Especially if they’re not willing to sacrifice their health and nutritious diet to do it.
Nevertheless, we can and should be on the lookout for local alternatives to some of our dietary choices. And this is what life-to-table means to us for people who have any number of dietary restrictions.