The Farm-to-Table Supply Chain in Peril

Interview by Billy Shore

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Can small farmers survive the COVID-19 pandemic? NYC’s Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns chef and co-owner Dan Barber joins Billy Shore to discuss how the farm-to-table movement is especially vulnerable right now. “There’s a network of farmers that we’re connected to, whether you know it or not. That network has been shattered,” laments Barber. Left without a way to generate revenue, he fears many of these small, organic farms will declare bankruptcy. “These are the farmers that I most want to protect because if they leave us, a generation of knowledge leaves us, and I don’t think they come back,” he says.

Barber and Stone Barns recently started resourcED, selling food in boxes to give the 120 farmers that supply his restaurants a revenue stream. “We started resourcED in part to create a consciousness through education about the kind of people that produce our food… It’s an opportunity to build a kind of system that is more resilient,” he explains.

Listen to a critical discussion about the importance of supporting the small farmers who have been building a healthier food system.

Resources and Mentions:

Dan Barber Headshot

Dan Barber

Chef and co-owner of Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, and the author of The Third Plate. He is currently serving as the director of resourcED, a collaboration between Blue Hill and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture to support independent local farms during this pandemic crisis and beyond. Barber also co-founded Row 7 Seed Company, which brings together chefs and plant breeders to develop new varieties of vegetables and grains. Barber has received multiple James Beard awards including Best Chef: New York City (2006) and the country’s Outstanding Chef (2009).

No Kid Hungry

Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.

Blue Hill

Stone Barns is a world-renowned, award-winning restaurant located in one of the historic stone buildings at Stone Barns Center. The chefs at Blue Hill partner with the farmers at Stone Barns to demonstrate innovative farm-driven cuisine for our visitors and program participants, bringing the field and pasture to the plate and increasing awareness of our shared philosophy. Farmers, chefs and educators all work together to advance innovation and experimentation in sustainable agriculture and the creation of delicious, nutritious cuisine. As a celebrated restaurant, Blue Hill wields a strong influence on the food-system dialogue in which other chefs, suppliers, corporations and eaters are taking part.

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