This is an ongoing blog series entitled, Reasons to Try Our Meat CSA, describing some of the reasons our members have shared with us why it works so well for them.
Reason #2: Our meat comes from happy animals, not sad animals.
We have a lot of young families in our meat CSA. And one thing we hear from a number of our members is that there are frequent conversations around the dinner table where discussions about animal welfare and human responsibility are given tangible expression while eating our products. One member even told me of his daughter asking many times after one of these conversations questions like, "did this chicken come from a sad animal, or from the happy animals at Farmer Luke's farm?"
We take pride in our animal husbandry, and are always working to improve the way our animals experience life around here.
The animals here are always moving to fresh, clean, forage-covered ground. In general, animals don't want to stand around in a mixture of mud and feces. And they do want to express their innate foraging instincts in a healthy ecosystem filled with diverse things to eat and enjoy. A pretty significant amount of the work we do around here is moving portable infrastructure so that the animals can have all they need (fences, water, feed, minerals, shelter) while remaining on the move.
We also provide shelter from the most extreme elements: shade when it's too hot to be out in the open, and shelter for the species that need it in winter. For the less rugged species out there, especially chickens, we also completely revolve our production calendar around the times where they can be most comfortable. We usually try to keep our hog operation pretty small through the winter.
Baby animals are always given extra care and attention, as one might expect. This winter we plan to build a new brooder so that we can grow, but still provide ample, warm, draft-free, predator proof space for our birds to start out life on the farm. We also carefully time when baby lambs or pigs are born, and keep a close watchful eye on them. With our lamb program, we have two guiding principles: intervene if a baby ever really needs your help. If you have to intervene though, that baby and her mom will leave the breeding program and enter into the meat program. This one-strike policy may sound harsh in a discussion about happy animals. But it is a very important piece of it. If sheep that end up having foot problems or parasite issues or low birth weights are allowed to breed, then our farm will have more animals living on it that experience increasingly more problems, and increasingly more suffering, and we will have to intervene more and more. But for animal and whole-farm flourishing, we allow only the most-healthy to breed, and therefore we end up with the healthiest, happiest flock possible in the end.
Pictures can show some things that a blog can't describe. Feel free to look around at our Instagram page for photographic evidence of happy animals living on our farm. We take animal welfare seriously, and try to remain as transparent as possible. We also will be having a fall farm party in the next month, should anyone want to come out and see for themselves.
If this, or any of the other blog posts in our Reasons to Join Our CSA series has piqued your interest, we'd be happy to have you take a look at what we offer, and why this program might work well for your family: Click here to learn more about our Meat CSA