This is not being written to make you say "right this is it, I am not eating meat again!" or "I am going to become a vegetarian or vegan!"or even "how could you put this up, it's disgusting!"
It is about starting a conversation about our food, how it is raised and why have we ended up in a world that is purchasing meat in such a large scale that we are having to turn to factory farms to meet this demand.
What is being put forward in this entry are purely our views and opinions and to explain a little about the journey we have taken.
Making change to our food system is a long road and it is all about different view points, some people will not watch this video, others will, some may not like us for sharing this, others may change the way they eat. For some it might not make a difference at all because the bottom line is about how much they have to spend on weekly groceries so they will be looking at price tags over the ethics of raising an animal and for some they would rather own the latest i phone than eat more nutritiously dense meat.
We started on our journey over fifteen years ago. We fell in love with the idealistic life of River Cottage. We wanted our own piece of land to raise a pig or two, walk into the coop to collect a few fresh eggs, for many who know me well I have a real issues with feathers and flapping wings but I still had the picture of me with my egg basket or strolling around our little vegetable garden picking fresh vegetables for dinner.
At this stage we were busy with our careers in London, England and initially the nearest we got to that dream was making sure we purchased organic if we could. We slowly ventured out of the grocery store and into our local farmers market to buy direct from producers. Even at this stage family and friends would roll their eyes at us about us heading out on a Sunday morning to see what yummies we could get at the market. Still at this stage factory farming was something that you heard about with chickens but not much else, or was it because we still had our blinkers on and only wanted to see part of the story. Some of our meat came from the market some still came from the grocery store and on occasion I would visit a local butcher, but did I ask about where the meat came from or how it was raised? No I did not! I liked that fact that I was buying from my local butcher and that was enough.
An opportunity to move to Canada allowed us to follow that dream to raise those chickens, and pick those vegetables but something else fueled us to make this into a full time job.
Joel Salatine, Omnivore's Dilemma, Food Ink and CAFO - A site and book on 'the tragedy of industrial animal factories' in the USA These people, books and movies which yes can be one sided in their views (not always showing the other side of the story) did make us think more differently about our food, what our animals ate and how they were raised. We had the opportunity to start something different on our farm, not everyone has that ability. Debt passed on by previous generations may not make it feasible for that farmer to charge, some may not want to change, perceived conceptions that we need more corn syrup in our lives, consumer pressure for cheaper food all play their part in stopping change even the notion that to feed the world we need to be eating and producing more meat, but then according to the UN we need to eat more insects. (which on a side note can be rather tasty and provide loads of proteins but sometimes the legs get stuck between your teeth!). We have always been of the mind, eat less meat and more vegetables, eat meat that has been raised better, more ethically, but be prepared for something raised this way to cost you more. If you are eating less quantity then it can be of better quality.
We are part of a huge movement of people who are trying to make these changes, whether it be first generation farmers, conventional farmers who are slowly making those charges or for multiple generation farmers who have been farming ethically all their lives. There are people out their who will talk to you about how they grow those vegetables or raise their animals.
Start the conversation, speak to the farmer, for many of us who farm we are so happy to tell you why we do it, how we do things and we want to share our journeys on how we got here.
For some starting that conversation may not interest them, they are not worried about their food, or it is too much trouble or don't have the time to search for it. Take the hour you might spend on Facebook or sitting in front of the TV watching American Idol or shooting something on playstation and use that hour to see where your local farmers market is or to start the search for local producers in your area. It's only an hour and Hey! We all know that Simon Cowell will be wearing the same pair of high waisted pants!
To all our present customer's who have started that journey "Thank You" for choosing to support our small farm and for starting the discussion. If it were not for you we would not still be here!
Why don't we pay more attention to who are farmers are? We would never be as careless choosing an auto mechanic or babysitter as we are about who grows our food."