Meanwhile, Well and Good is calling this type of farming the “future of sustainable food,” while FreshDirect is highlighting it as a top trend, as well, with the latter inviting people to vote with their wallets by choosing regenerative-friendly companies.
We’re very, very happy to read all of this. Seriously!
For us, though, regenerative farming is far more than something listed in a trends report—and it’s nothing new.
For us, it’s a lifestyle. It’s at the heart and soul of everything we’ve done, all that we do—and everything we plan to do. As we grow vegetables slowly and gently in full accord with nature, we use farming techniques that leave our soil in better shape, healthier shape, and this is the foundation of everything that happens at The Chef’s Garden.
In short, we wholly embrace regenerative farming.
We used to use the term sustainable farming to describe our philosophy but, as language has evolved, we began to realize that—because we go far beyond simply being sustainable, focusing on making our soil better than how we found it—regenerative farming is what really describes how we think and what we do.
Cover crops are central to this type of farming, which are crops specifically and strategically grown to enrich the soil. You can find more information about cover crops here.
Now, we’ll list links and quotes from websites around the web that are sharing information about and insights into three key food trends in 2020, starting with regenerative farming. Keep reading for information about the other two—along with two bonus trends.
Key Trend #1 Regenerative Farming
Half a world away from us, in Australia, February 14, 2020 will be National Regenerative Agriculture Day, a celebration that “aims to inspire individuals practicing, supporting or engaging regeneration of our eco-system, soil, food chain, communities and culture to come together on Valentine's Day 2020 to celebrate #heartyourfarmer and help promote regenerative solutions.”
The site asks the following regenerative farming questions of its readers—and, to us, the answer to each and every question is a resounding yes.
Is it the story of carbon?
Is it the story of soil?
Is it the story of farmers?
Is it the story of grandchildren?
Is it the story of earth?
Is it the story of saving earth?
In a 2019 CBS report, the news agency says the following about the crucial 2020 food trend of regenerative farming: “Maybe it doesn't look like much more than dirt, but soil does more than just give crops life—it also serves as the terrestrial ecosystem's most significant carbon storehouse. Fertile soil is microbe- and carbon-rich. Improperly cultivating it with traditional practices like excessive tilling and monocropping (producing a single crop every year on the same land) kills off those critical microbes and releases large amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.”
For a deeper dive into the concept of carbon sequestration and the role it plays in regenerative agriculture, we invite you to read our recent blog post, Benefits of Cover Crops, Carbon Sequestration and Regenerative Farming. Here’s a section from that post that provides a high-level look on the subject:
We plant seeds for vegetables, edible flowers, herbs, microgreens and more.
Through the miracle of photosynthesis, the sun provides nutrition so that these plants can grow, while the water from the planet hydrates them.
We gather in the seasonal fruits of the harvest throughout the year.
People can eat delicious and nutritious meals.
After harvesting, farmers at The Chef’s Garden plant cover crops to build our soil up to a degree that’s even healthier than how we found it, a key way to give back to the Earth.
Via these cover crops, Mother Nature offers up yet another of her gifts through the process of sequestering atmospheric carbon dioxide. This amazing process helps to “offset greenhouse gas emissions, such as the carbon dioxide emitted by cars, power plants and other burning of fossil fuels. The soil has significant potential to store carbon and to mitigate the effects of climate change.”
Clearly, the notion of regenerative agriculture goes far beyond simply being the fad of the moment—and the next trend also dovetails well with the idea of ongoing regenerative living.
Trend #2: Plant-Forward Eating
Although a focus on plant-based eating is not new, it continues to gain more and more momentum. Here’s what some experts are saying.
Whole Foods includes “Plant-based Progress” in their top 10 food trends for 2020, while Boston Magazine quotes experts who “agree that we’re going to see a continuous and steady rise in plant-based diets, which can mean traditional vegetarian and vegan diets, but also others like ovo-vegetarianism and lacto-vegetarianism. No matter what you call it though, or even if you don’t label it at all, plant-based diets center around fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains.”
Benefits of plant-based diets include, according to this magazine article:
BENCHMARK, the global hospitality company, says this about “The Incredible Sprouting Plant Ecosystem”: “In 2020, we expect this trend to grow rapidly. This culminates from years of research and studies, to make plant-based food items equally delicious and as desirable as real meat and dairy products. Many restaurants have encouraged veg-forward eating habits. By 2020, we predict that they will have a dedicated menu for plant-based food items.”
Beverage Daily, meanwhile, puts the focus on the glass, sharing highlights of a report that “sees 2020 as a time for ‘a whole lot of plant-love, served up in a health-conscious way.’” Specific plants highlighted include peas, because of how this delicious and nutritious crop provides people with “phytonutrients, protein, and omega 3s. It has potential to be a major allergen-free, plant-based protein for use in smoothies, plant meats, gravy, and waffles.”
We’d also like to suggest the following recipe: Red Peas and Rice Recipe with Miso Butter.
Another veggie singled out for anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties in Beverage Daily: purple sweet potatoes. Here’s a way to enjoy them in a dessert, shared on the Culinary Vegetable Institute site.
The CVI also offers plenty of insights about veggie-based snacks, including a favorite recipe of Chef Jamie Simpson, puffed kale.
Not surprisingly, a Washington Post article includes puffed veggies as a 2020 trend.
Here’s another tasty way to enjoy veggie-based snacks: tomato chips!
According to coverage of the Specialty Food Association, veggie-based carb substitutes will be big in 2020 (something we talked about more than a year ago!). The “most used veggie” seen? Cauliflower, which is “finally entering the snack world. Cauliflower is so versatile and healthy, so it found its way into many different products and flavors.”
Also discussed in the Specialty Food Association coverage was how vegetables, such as “Beets, carrots, spinach and cauliflower” can be delicious in ice cream. To get started, here’s Chef Jamie’s peas and carrots ice cream recipe.
Now, here’s the third key food trend, this one focusing on bees (And, yes! We also have a recipe for beeswax ice cream).
Trend #3: Protecting the Honeybee
The United Nations has designated May 20th as World Bee Day, with the value of the honeybee going far beyond the honey they produce. Although 2020 will not be the first year to honor the bee on this day, we see increasingly numbers of people and organizations stepping up to protect this vital creature.
To demonstrate why the wellbeing of the bee is a food issue, here’s what FoodTank.com has said about bees and their impact on the food supply. “It is difficult to understate the impact on the restaurant industry if we don’t save the bees. Restaurants depend on a stable and seasonal supply of vegetables, fruits, and other foods pollinated by bees. The continued loss of bees will hit restaurants, chefs, and their customers especially hard. Imagine going to your favorite restaurant and finding no melons, blueberries, or peaches on the summer menu, or apples and pumpkin in the fall.”
In a recent post of ours about bees and sustainability, we listed resources to help care for our planet’s bees that we’ll also share here:
University of New Hampshire
BuzzAboutBees.net (resources for children)
Friends of the Earth (here are their activities for children)
Act for Bees
Bee-saving resources found on Google
2020 Food Trends: They’re Not Fads!
Sometimes, the words “trend” and “fad” are used interchangeably, but they’re not the same thing. A fad is something that grabs people’s attention for a relatively short period of time. Think pet rocks. The Rubik’s Cube. Jennifer Aniston’s hairstyle from Friends.
A trend, though, is longer term, sometimes turning into a permanent change—and each of these three trends needs to become an ongoing practice for the health and wellbeing of people and the planet alike.
Now, here’s info about two food-related trends that are more niche.
Two Bonus Trends
New Food Magazine published a top ten trends list—and one of the items on their list for 2020 is a focus on tartness. “Sour foods,” the article reads, “are growing in popularity because of exactly what they are not: sweet. Thanks to globalisation, more palates are beginning to appreciate flavours from around the world, like vinegar, tamarind, and other ingredients that provide a distinctly tasteful tartness.”
What’s interesting is that we noticed this trend at The Chef’s Garden as far back as early 2017, when we published this post: Soaring Interest in Sorrel. What we’d realized was the following.
At The Chef’s Garden, what we’re noticing is a soaring interest in all sour flavors, particularly in our sorrel plants, including red ribbon sorrel and lucky sorrel. These leaves offer a sweet intro but have quite a tart finish. We have seen the sales of these varieties double in the past year: ultra lucky sorrel, Mr. Frye’s rhubarb, demi red ribbon sorrel and amethyst sorrel. We’ve also seen substantial increase in kinome leaves and citrus begonia.
Here's another bonus trend: celery root is becoming a hot product! We’ve long been a fan of this knobby beauty, a perfect choice to add pungent celery flavor to dishes. People also call celery root by other names, including celeriac, turnip-rooted celery and knob celery—but, no matter what you call it, we’re glad that it’s getting long overdue attention.
Forward Thinking People Come Together: Roots 2020
If you like thinking about and talking about how to improve our world through regenerative food systems—and you like to benefit from hearing what others have to say on the subject—then we invite you to put some dates on your calendar. Roots 2020 will take place on September 20-22, 2020 at the Culinary Vegetable Institute.
The annual Roots conference gathers culinary leaders from all corners of the globe to The Chef’s Garden in Huron, Ohio to discuss their work with like-minded individuals who share the same passion, commitment, and motivation to improve our debilitated food system.
At Roots, chefs, farmers, academics, food scientists, journalists, research and development experts, and general consumers gather together in an inspiring environment to examine ways to collectively contribute to the efforts currently underway to enhance the way we farm, cook, eat, shop, analyze data, and conduct research. Not surprisingly, people on panels and those who attend typically have plenty of insights into today’s food trends.
You can find information about past Roots culinary conferences here—and you can watch this site for more information about what’s happening in 2020!