While the number of farmers markets continue to grow, the amount of farmland in America is shrinking — nearly 1 million acres are lost each year. The American Farmland Trust works to reverse this trend by supporting farm and ranch land conservation. To help fund their efforts, participating restaurants in the annual Dine Out for Farms event are donating to the cause. You have three nights left to participate — visit the website to find a supporting restaurant near you. Locally, the José Andres empire (Jaleo, Oyamel, Zaytinya), DC Coast, Founding Farmers, Graffiato and Pinkberry are among those participating.
At the kick-off event, Graffiato Chef Mike Isabella (you may recognize him from Top Chef) and Virginia’s Bev Eggleston, EcoFriendly Foods (pictured above with AFT’s Jon Scholl), talked about the importance of chefs partnering with farmers and some of the challenges in doing so. It can be hard for an individual farmer to provide the steady supply needed by restaurants, but by forming cooperatives — the business model for EcoFriendly — the relationship can be much more successful. And profitable for the farmers, ensuring they can continue to farm on their land.
Dine Out For Farms runs through Saturday, October 22. Do you make a point to dine at restaurants who support local farms?