| October 27, 2009
Asheville, NC Citizen-Times, October 27, 2009–The rural American landscape has changed in a way that can now imperil human health. In the name of efficiency, industrial farms have uprooted the family farm and the numerous jobs that go with it. Today the meat, milk and eggs on the average American’s table travel to supermarkets from places that more closely resemble factories than farms. On these industrialized operations, animals are confined indoors, in numbers far exceeding their natural social groups. They are forced to eat, drink, and in many cases stand in their own feces. These stressful conditions incubate and cause many diseases.
| October 26, 2009
The first Vermont dairy recently passed its state certification to legally sell up to 40 gallons of raw milk per day. The certification is being given in two tiers—Tier 1 farms are only allowed to sell up to 50 quarts of milk per day and they do not have to be inspected or have their milk tested. Farms that wish to sell 40 gallons or more must be Tier 2 certified and both inspection and twice monthly milk testing is required. You may want to read the full list of legal requirements under Vermont’s Legislative Act 62 and as outlined in Rural Vermont’s Raw Milk Sellers Guide .
Liza Plaster and her husband William Early raise Animal Welfare Approved dairy goats at Ripshin Goat Dairy in Lenoir, NC. The farm, which has been in Liza’s family for six generations, is located in the beautiful and historic Happy Valley on the Yadkin River in western North Carolina. At Ripshin, Liza and William manage a herd of registered ADGA (American Dairy Goat Association) American Saanen dairy goats- known for their calm demeanor and productivity – using the most humane and ecological practices. They describe their farm as “multiple generations of goats grazing twenty acres of woods and pasture, enjoying fresh air and sunshine by day and shelter by night.”
| October 23, 2009
Animal Welfare Approved is pleased to announce that Eden Earthworks in Mountain View, Hawaii Lowline Cattle Company in Honoka’a, and Kauai Kunana Dairy on Kauai’s North Shore, have recently been awarded the Animal Welfare Approved seal for high-welfare animal husbandry.
According to Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther, “Hawaiians, like their mainland counterparts, are interested in purchasing locally produced farm products from sustainable, humane farms. Being able to find these products is especially important in a state where an estimated 85 percent of the food is imported. We are excited to be a part of the effort to grow Hawaii’s farming community and to make sure Hawaiians can purchase products that align with their values.”
“People, planet, profit” is today’s measure of how well a company is doing. While corporate social responsibility might have once meant a nice contribution to charity at Christmas, those days are gone. A new study by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI) shows consumers are taking “people, planet, profit,” also known as triple bottom line accounting, very seriously, and companies hoping to compete will have to take a good hard look at how they produce what they hope to sell.
According to the NMI study, 50% of consumers avoid brands whose practices they don’t agree with—twice as many as in 2005. Consumers have been educating themselves about the things they buy and the food they eat for years and that knowledge is impacting buying decisions.
| October 21, 2009
Program Director Andrew Gunther announced yesterday that Animal Welfare Approved has certified the first two family farms supplying beef and dairy to Pacific Natural Foods. “We are so pleased that Pacific Natural Foods has chosen Animal Welfare Approved to audit and certify its family farms, demonstrating its commitment to high welfare farming. We look forward to an ongoing collaboration as we work towards certifying the other family farms that supply Pacific Natural Foods.”
With certification, Pacific Natural Foods will begin rolling out various products with the Animal Welfare Approved seal, the first AWA products to be widely available in supermarkets across the nation. “Products from sustainable, humane family farms are expanding from farmers’ markets to supermarkets,” Gunther said. “The movement has been a true grassroots effort between consumers and farmers, and Pacific Natural Foods and its farmers are the next step in the evolution of the marketplace.”
Patient Wait Farms is a long-time dream of a Jersey girl, exiled to upstate South Carolina. Gail Cooley, along with her understanding husband/farm hand, is striving to provide a farm with high quality products, animals and service to the community. Gail, Mike, and their daughter Morgan raise heritage turkeys on a pasture-based system. The turkeys graze with the family’s horses and Gail’s small herd of dairy goats. Morgan operates a small egg business with her own flock of heritage chickens, while Mike is in charge of the honey-bee department.
| October 16, 2009
Kids can be the pickiest eaters around, rejecting anything that smells, looks, or feels “weird,” an all encompassing term with a highly flexible definition. Rather than seeing this as an obstacle to a well-rounded nutritional experience, why not harness a child’s natural tendency to be suspicious of food and use it for good? Michael Pollan is doing just that with the release of The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids: The Secrets Behind What You Eat. Just released in hardcover, paperback and Kindle editions, The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids uses plenty of photos, graphs and charts—and a fun format—to encourage kids, tweens and teens to think about what they are eating, how it was produced and what that means for their future and the planet.
Mason Creek Farm is a small organic market/CSA farm located at 1300 feet in the Boston Mountains of Arkansas. In a pristine creek bottom farm where synthetics have never been used, Rose Konold and Glenn Woelk raise fresh-cut culinary herbs and specialty vegetables, Ameraucana poultry for egg sales and pastured Tamworth pork for local restaurants and their subscription members. Rose and Glenn cherish their farm, stating, “It is satisfying to watch the pigs and chickens out in an environment for which they are so well-suited.” To accommodate their animals they divided the semi-forested creek bottom pastures into smaller areas that can be rotated often, which helps with control of intestinal parasites. More importantly it allows the land time to recover, rebuild and re-grow for continued grazing.
TomKat ranch is dedicated to the health and preservation of their land and community. Located in the lush, rolling hills of Pescadero and San Gregorio, just a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, TomKat cattle are raised according to the highest welfare standards. Their animals have free access to natural forages, and consume a 100% perennial grass diet.