The Food Movement: Bring Local Foods to the Table

Open Access
Fulgham, Kaitlyn Marie
Area of Honors:
Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Amit Sharma, Thesis Supervisor
  • Breffni M Noone, Honors Advisor
  • farm to table
  • local
  • food movement
  • sustainability
  • restaurants
Local sourcing of products for restaurants is a growing trend and competitive strategy in the industry. More and more restaurateurs and chefs are taking a sustainable approach to sourcing and operating their kitchens meanwhile consumers are seeking out these establishments. While it represents a current trend, it is also an incredibly valuable strategy for the environment and economy. Despite these favorable characteristics, sourcing locally is a difficult strategy to implement. Distribution channels, product availability, product consistency, and pricing are all evident challenges faced by the restaurants, while economies of scale, seasonality and reliability are struggles for the farms involved on a local level. Through an in-depth case study of the restaurants and farms in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, this study aimed to explore the logistics behind this strategy and the financial impacts of adopting local foods in independent restaurants. Unlike other related research, this study involved both parties involved in the farm to table relationship to identify where the systems are flawed and how to enhance success. The research was conducted through a series of personal interviews with independent restaurants, and farm representatives from the area. The results reveal that Bucks County is a very well suited area for the farm-to-table restaurant strategy to succeed for both parties involved. This study found that supply chain channels exist for distribution, and landscape lends itself to seasonal production of foods in demand by independent restaurant. The success of this strategy however could be aided by more promotion of the use of local ingredients, and improvements in the distribution channels to aid in the sourcing process.