Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Supporting Sustainable Meat in Your Community

I love eating.  I love thinking about food, preparing food, smelling food, and savouring food.  And when I know that the food was raised sustainably by a small-scale organic farmer who lives near my home, it tastes all the better.

Some of you may have watched the documentaries Food Inc. or Fresh and been impressed with Joel Salatin.  Maybe some of you have read one or two or all of his books (I haven't yet, but they are definitely on my to-read list!).  He makes an impression because he's honest, he's idealistic, he doesn't buy into the way meat is raised industrially, he's Christian and environmentally conscious (both big selling points for me!) and his farming techniques just make sense.  Most importantly, perhaps, is that his pastured poultry, pigs, and cattle all look happy and healthy.

I can honestly say that when I first saw him in Food Inc., I was immediately inspired.  As a meat-eating conservationist (I know, I know, some of you think that can't exist), his way of raising healthy livestock in a natural way by feeding them what nature intended just seemed so, absolutely but simply, right.  How can we convince everyone that their meat should be raised this way?  Do we have local farmers who make a conscious effort to do this?

I don't know about where you live, but here on PEI we have just such a farmer and we currently have an amazing opportunity to help him.

Raymond Loo is an organic farmer based near Breadalbane, and owns SpringWillow Farm.  He is recognized internationally as an Outstanding Organic Farmer.  He has been in the news numerous times for innovative farming techniques and products, and he is currently undertaking an interesting approach to raising pastured, organic pork, poultry and beef in a way that is financially feasible for small family farms.

Rather than going to traditional lenders to finance the increased costs of raising pastured meat for local consumers, he is embarking on a fundraising effort built on the CSA model that allows community members to help him by donating funds up-front in the spring, and then receiving their chosen type of meat in a package in the fall.  This allows him to have the necessary funds at the beginning of the season to raise the animals and make a profit without incurring debt, and is a model that might be very appealing  to other small farmers as a way of raising pastured meat for a local market.

You can learn more here.  If you live on PEI and are interested, check out the site and support him!  And if you don't live nearby but know someone who might benefit from this type of fundraising, then perhaps you could pass on the information and spread the idea to other family farmers in your community.

Initiatives like these can help us change the face of agriculture!  Please get involved in your local, organic farming community and support those who are working to change our system of growing, raising, harvesting, and delivering the food that we put on our tables.

This post is shared with Simple Living Wednesdays at Our Simple Farm and Homestead Helps Wednesday at Little Farm in the Big City.


  1. Excellent post! Joel Salatin is truly inspiring. He'll be in central Florida in a couple of weeks. My husband and I hope to be able to attend the event. Would love for you to share this post on my blog's new link-up. My blog focuses on urban homesteading and sustainable living in spite of living in the city. The information about CSAs would be very helpful to my visitors. http://littlefarminthebigcity.blogspot.com/2012/04/homestead-helps-wednesday-homestead-hop.html

  2. Thank you so much for posting this, I checked out his website and we are going to be buying some boxes from him. This is exactly what I've been looking for.

  3. I've never met Joel Salatin, but I've always wanted to. I have been a fan of his since before it was cool... before he was featured in the Food movies or in Omnivore's Dilema.

    His farming methods are awesome. We are trying to follow some of them here on the prairie of Colorado.

    I think they are harder than he makes it sound. See here... http://www.homesteadfailure.blogspot.com/2011/09/pop-goes-insulator.html

  4. Thanks for posting this, I ordered myself some meat for the fall! :)


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