Module 8 

Farm to Fork

Goals & Objectives

8.03: Farm to Fork

It’s impossible to talk about the rise of farm-to-table without discussing the fall of the processed food empire.

Packaged goods thrived after innovations in food processing and storage, and peaked with the ubiquity of canned food during the 1950s. Processed food continued to reign supreme until the 1960s and 1970s. At that point, the hippie movement—comprised of constituents who were fans of local and organic food—swept the States.

The main driving forces behind the farm to table or farm to fork movement, whichever you prefer to call it, have to do with the ethics of food production. A Rutgers outlines, there are four pillars to the movement:

  • Food security: The farm to table movement increases the scope of food security to move beyond the food needs of individuals or families and look at the needs of both the larger community, with a focus on low-income households. “It has a strategic goal of developing local food systems,” the article notes.

  • Proximity: The farm to table movement hinges on the notion that the various components of a food system (or a restaurant) should exist in the closest proximity to each other as possible. The goal is to develop relationships between the various stakeholders in a food system such as “farmers, processors, retailers, restaurateurs, consumers” and more. Additionally, proximity reduces the environmental impact of transporting ingredients across states or countries.

  • Self-reliance: One of the goals of farm to table is to generate communities that can meet their own food needs, again eliminating the need for outside resources or long distance transportation of food.

  • Sustainability: The core idea here is that farm to table food systems exist in a way that doesn’t stifle “the ability of future generations to meet their food needs,” meaning that it doesn’t destroy resources in the process.

That said, the farm to fork movement includes other goals as well, such as increasing the health of a community and increasing access to food across an entire community.

8.04: Essential Nutrients

An essential nutrient is a nutrient required for normal body functioning that cannot be synthesized by the body. The World Health Organization (WHO) note that essential nutrients are crucial in supporting a person's reproduction, good health, and growth. The WHO divide these essential nutrients into two categories: micronutrients and macronutrients.


Micronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in small doses. Micronutrients consist of vitamins and minerals. Although the body only needs small amounts of them, a deficiency can cause ill health.

Macronutrients are nutrients that a person needs in larger amounts. Macronutrients include water, protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

Keep reading for more information about where to find these nutrients, and why a person needs them.The six essential nutrients are vitamins, minerals, protein, fats, water, and carbohydrates.


Vitamins are micronutrients that offer a range of health benefits, including:

  • boosting the immune system

  • helping prevent or delay certain cancers, such as prostate cancer

  • strengthening teeth and bones

  • aiding calcium absorption

  • maintaining healthy skin

  • helping the body metabolize proteins and carbs

  • supporting healthy blood

  • aiding brain and nervous system functioning

Typically, a person who eats a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins can get all the vitamins they need in their food. However, those who eat less fruit and vegetables, and those with digestive conditions may need to take a vitamin supplement to reduce or avoid a deficiency.


Minerals are the second type of micronutrients. There are two groups of minerals: major and trace minerals. The body needs a balance of minerals from both groups for optimal health.

Major minerals are:

Major minerals help the body to do the following:

  • balance water levels

  • maintain healthy skin, hair, and nails

  • improve bone health

A person can ensure they consume enough minerals by including the following foods in their diet:

  • red meats (limit their use and choose lean cuts)

  • seafood

  • iodized table salt (less than 2,300 milligrams a day)

  • milk and other dairy products

  • nuts and seeds

  • vegetables

  • leafy greens

  • fruits

  • poultry

  • fortified bread and cereals

  • egg yolks

  • whole grains

  • beans and legumes


Protein is a macronutrient that every cell in the body needs to function properly.

Proteins carry out a variety of functions, including:

  • ensuring the growth and development of muscles, bones, hair, and skin

  • forming antibodies, hormones, and other essential substances

  • serving as a fuel source for cells and tissues when needed

A person can take in proteins through their diet. The following foods are good sources of protein:

Although meats and fish tend to contain the highest levels of protein, vegans and vegetarians can get enough protein from various plant products.


People often associate high fat foods with bad health. However, a person needs certain fats to help maintain optimal health.

Fats provide the body with energy and help it carry out a range of functions. However, it is essential to consume healthful fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and limit or avoid saturated and trans fats. Healthful fats help with the following functions:

  • cell growth

  • blood clotting

  • building new cells

  • reducing the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes

  • muscle movement

  • balance blood sugar

  • brain functioning

  • mineral and vitamin absorption

  • hormone production

  • immune function

According to recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a person should consume 20–35% of their calories from healthful fats. A person can find healthful fats in several foods, including:

  • nuts

  • fish, such as salmon and tuna

  • vegetable oils

  • coconut oil

  • seeds


Carbohydrates are essential to the body. They are sugars or starches that provide energy for all the cells and tissues in the body.

There are two different types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. People should limit their intake of simple carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta, and rice. However, the body needs complex carbohydrates to support the following:

  • the immune system

  • brain function

  • the nervous system

  • energy to perform tasks

  • digestive function

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend a person consumes 45–65% of their daily calories from complex carbohydrates.

The following foods contain complex carbohydrates:

  • quinoa

  • brown rice

  • vegetables

  • whole grain pasta, bread, and other baked goods

  • oatmeal

  • fruits

  • barley

People should avoid overly processed products that contain bleached, white flour, and foods with added sugar.


Water is probably the most important essential nutrient that a person needs. A person can only survive a few days without consuming water. Even slight dehydration can cause headaches and impaired physical and mental functioning.

The human body is made up of mostly water, and every cell requires water to function. Water helps with several functions, including:

  • flushing toxins out

  • shock absorption

  • transporting nutrients

  • preventing constipation

  • lubrication

  • hydration

The best source for water is to drink natural, unsweetened water from the tap or bottled sources. For people who do not like the taste of plain water, they can add a squeeze of lemon or other citrus fruits. Also, a person can get extra water by consuming fruits that contain a large amount of water.

People should avoid getting their water intake from sugary drinks. Sugary drinks include sweetened teas, coffees, soda, lemonade, and fruit juices.

8.05: Food Labels

Learn what to look for on the label:

1 - Start with the serving information at the top.

This will tell you the size of a single serving and the total number of servings per container (package).

2 - Next, check total calories per serving and container.

Pay attention to the calories per serving and how many calories you’re really consuming if you eat the whole package. If you double the servings you eat, you double the calories and nutrients.

The next section of information on a nutrition label is about the amounts of specific nutrients in the product.

3 - Limit certain nutrients.

Check key nutrients and understand what you’re looking for. Not all fats are bad , and total sugars can include both natural and added sugars. Limit the amounts of added sugars , saturated fat  and sodium you eat, and avoid trans fat. When choosing among different brands or similar products, compare labels and choose foods with less of these nutrients when possible.

4 - Get enough of the beneficial nutrients.

Make sure you get enough of the nutrients your body needs, such as: calcium, choline, dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamins A, C, D and E.

5 - Understand % Daily Value.

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you the percentage of each nutrient in a single serving, in terms of the daily recommended amount. If you want to consume less of a nutrient (such as saturated fat or sodium), choose foods with a lower % DV (5 percent or less). If you want to consume more of a nutrient (such as fiber), choose foods with a higher % DV (20 percent or more).

Here are more tips for getting as much health information as possible from the Nutrition Facts label:

  • Remember that the information shown in the label is based on a diet of 2,000 calories a day. You may need less or more than 2,000 calories depending upon your age, gender, activity level, and whether you’re trying to lose, gain or maintain your weight.

  • When the Nutrition Facts label says a food contains “0 g” of trans fat, but includes “partially hydrogenated oil” in the ingredient list, it means the food contains some trans fat, but less than 0.5 grams per serving. So, if you eat more than one serving, you could end up eating too much trans fat.

  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the Nutrition Facts label seen on packaged foods and drinks. In 2016, the FDA released changes to the label to make it easier to see how many calories and added sugars are in a product and to make serving sizes more realistic. These changes are still being implemented throughout the food industry, so for now you may see the redesigned version shown above or the old original version.

8.06: Lipids in Foods

Lipids are fatty, wax-like molecules found in the human body and other organisms. They serve several different roles in the body, including fueling it, storing energy for the future, sending signals through the body and being a constituent of cell membranes, which hold cells together. Lipids can be categorized into three main types.


Triglycerides are lipids you obtain from food sources of fat, such as cooking oils, butter and animal fat. Triglycerides provide insulation that keeps you warm while protecting your internal organs with a layer of padding. They also play a role how your body uses vitamins. When you don't burn all the calories you consume, they're converted to triglycerides and stored for future use. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn or eat too much food rich in fats, your triglyceride level could become too high and pose a health risk.


Steroids are a type of lipid that includes hormones and cholesterol. Cholesterol is produced by the body and consumed through food, and it plays a role in the production of hormones. Hormones include the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone, as well as your other hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and progesterone. Cholesterol, the most abundant steroid lipid in the body, is required in every cell in the body. It plays a role in cell repair and the formation of new cells. However, too much cholesterol is a bad thing. When it combines with other compounds in your blood, it can build up as plaque in your arteries, blocking blood flow to and from the heart. Having a high cholesterol level increases your risk of cardiovascular disease.


Phospholipids are derivatives of triglycerides. They're very similar to them but slightly different on a molecular level. Half of each molecule is water-soluble and the other is not, which causes them to react differently than triglycerides. Located on cell membranes, they form double-layered membranes with the water-soluble molecules on the outside of the cell membrane and the water-insoluble molecules in the inside. These lipids are responsible for protecting and insulating cells.

8.07: USDA Dietary Guidelines

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides five overarching Guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns, recognize that individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern, and acknowledge that all segments of our society have a role to play in supporting healthy choices. These Guidelines also embody the idea that a healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget. Several examples of healthy eating patterns that translate and integrate the recommendations in overall healthy ways to eat are provided.

8.08: Review/Critical Thinking

Please complete the following questions. It is important that you use full sentences and present the questions and answers when you submit your work.


Go to the Assessment area in the course to complete the assignment Review and Critical Thinking and submit the work as a file attachment.


The answers to the Review and Critical Thinking Questions are worth 10 points.

8.09: Cooking Assignment #8

For this assignment you will be creating your favorite salad.  This salad can include any type of lettuce you prefer along with any toppings you want to add.  Be creative.  While you are making your salad, think about the different essential nutrients you learned about in this module.  Make something that you and your family will enjoy.  Submit a video or photos of you preparing your salad along with things you liked, disliked, would change if you had to do it again, etc.  Submit this assignment in the assessments area when complete.

Creating a Salad

8.10: Module 8 Quiz

Before you take the quiz for this unit take a moment to review what you have learned.

When you feel that you are ready to complete the Module 8 Quiz, Farm to Fork, click HERE.

Farm to Fork

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