Many people understand that grass fed meat is healthier than commercially raised meats and that pasture raised animals are about as organic and natural as it can get. But many people are also very interested in knowing that the animal that ends up on their dinner plate not only lived a good life and met a peaceful end, but lived a healthy life and is passing on health benefits to the family around the dinner table.
Sustainable and restorative agriculture requires a pasture-based system for raising livestock. This enables the animals to do what comes natural to them: roam freely in fresh pastures as they graze on a variety of nutritious grasses and other plants. The cows, sheep, goats, and chickens are all part of a larger ecosystem that includes everything from the soil biology to the wildlife that call our family farms home. The livestock recycle what they eat and nourish the soil enabling the grasses and other plants to thrive, providing a source of food and shelter to a variety of wild animals as well. As healthy soil is developed it has a greater ability to draw down carbon from the atmosphere, and retain & filter water which improves air and water quality. The animals are a link in the ecosystem chain and we benefit from consuming pasture raised meat because it is clean and healthy.
Most people don’t think much about how their meat is raised. There are significant differences between commercially raised meats and pasture raised meats. Commercial meats are raised on grass but then trucked to confinement systems where it is not possible for the large numbers of animals to graze on fresh pasture, some animals live indoors all their lives and don’t even see fresh grass. Commercially raised animals are highly stressed and given antibiotics to suppress illness due to crowding and to promote growth. The end result is a commercial meat that is vastly different than naturally pasture raised meats like ours.
Here on our small family farm our animals spend the spring, summer, and fall grazing in fresh pasture every day. They have a wide variety of grasses and other plants to choose from trees to rest under. In the winter months we feed them the hay cut from our neighbor’s fields and provide them space in the barns to rest and eat away from the wind, rain, and snow. Rarely does one of our animals get sick or injured, but if they do need medical attention or medication we do not hesitate to provide what they need to become healthy again.
Another difference between commercial farmers and family farms is that the industrial farmer is pressured to be able to “feed the world” where the family farm feels a responsibility to provide food for their community. Keeping things local provides you, the customer, with the opportunity to meet your farmer and learn how your food has been raised, to ask questions and to learn new things, and to have a positive impact on your local environment, your local economy, and your family’s health. Research has indicated that when people know where their food comes from that they are better able to digest that meal and absorb the nutrients it contains. It’s amazing what happens when we’re connected to our food sources.
Click on the links below to see what pasture raised meats we are raising here at The Tikkun Homestead.