A Muddy History
Over the last three decades, livestock production began shifting toward larger production to meet the growing demand for affordable, readily available meats. This increase in efficiency and returns led to farmers concentrating livestock to smaller living areas. More animals in the same amount of space equal less cost and a higher headcount.
Faster output, efficiency-focused diets, condensed living spaces, and no access to the outdoors are just some of the reasons why the humble pig has developed into the commodity pork we know today.
How do we shift our focus from what is most cost-effective for us to what is best for us? At Newman Farm, we are confident that the pasture-raised approach is the answer.
The approach of humane farms yields that humble pig - one that can root around freely in the pasture, unconfined. This is about more than a tastier, juicer cut of pork (though that is hard to ignore). Many industrial farms utilize small amounts of antibiotics, known as STAs, into the water or feed of their stock to lessen the spread of disease. Some studies link this increased usage in commodity production to drug-resistant bacteria that spread from animals to humans. At a sustainable farm, only those animals with medical needs are administered antibiotics.
How To Root Through The Labels
Meat packages are littered with labels citing all manner of claims, like “grass-fed” or “free-range”. How can you decipher what is real and what’s just marketing rhetoric? For example, while calling your product "organic" is ostensibly positive, all that actually means is that the animal was fed an "organic" diet. The larger focus should be on which diet and environment are best for an animal’s quality of life. For pigs, that should include pasture access. How is that different than “grass-fed”? A pig cannot live on grass alone, but rather should receive a well-rounded diet for optimal health while exhibiting its natural rooting behaviors.
What Can You Do To Help Sustainable Farming?
Building the farm to fork movement is key to healthier futures for us and the animals. No matter where you are, there is a part of this farming community in your vicinity. When shopping for meats & produce, consider local shops that stock sustainable and humane farm goods, and seek out the restaurants that use products supplied by these farmers. You can also purchase directly from these local farms, whether responsibly sourced apples or whole pigs from a humane farm.
Why You Should Consider Farm To Door
At the end of the day, making a difference only works if we all commit. If you are looking for an easier way to support the sustainable farming community, consider delivery services like THE FARMSTOCK BOX, which delivers right to your doorstep - hassle-free! Many farmers are starting to offer delivery or even team up with third-party services. Get out there (or don’t) and show your local farmers some love!