I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Yeah, right. Toyota just needs damage control. As if feel-good, treehugging road trips make up for all those recalls.” But before you judge, let us separate the issue from the mission.
This is Toyota’s second annual Farm to Table Tour, in which 11 farmers markets nationwide participate with the automotive giant to visit “farmers markets across the country to showcase the connection between farmers, chefs, farmers markets, and the communities they serve, and to give market shoppers the opportunity to experience Toyota’s hybrid vehicles.” On each stop, up to 12 local chefs and farmers pair up to highlight seasonal ingredients through free tastings. Talks on eating locally and sustainably, culinary vacation giveaways, gardening information, and test rides in a 2010 Prius, Highlander Hybrid, or Camry Hybrid are also part of each market collaboration.
Toyota is also making financial donations to the participating markets, as well as to the Farmers Market Coalition. In addition, the company is using eco-friendly materials and purchasing carbon credits through TerraPass to offset the educational tour’s carbon footprint.
Tour stops include Birmingham, Pittsburgh, Chattanooga, Minneapolis, and Salt Lake City. The Washington DC FARMFRESH Market by the White House stop on July 29th features influential chef Nora Pouillon, of Restaurant Nora, the nation’s first certified organic restaurant, which opened in 1999. Regardless of how you may feel about Toyota, the company deserves props for its ongoing commitment to sustainability, and supporting family farms. And that ain’t a bad thing.