24 July 2013

An Ethical and Sustainable Approach to Food Production

*This post may not appeal to people who have made a decision in their lives not to eat meat

Last weekend at our local farmers market, I was proudly shown the head and carcass of a magnificent pig called Betty, which was sitting in Bundarra Berkshires' mobile fridge.  The meat was destined for delivery to someone who was planning one of those traditional family salami-making weekends.

I knew that taking Betty to slaughter earlier that week had been really tough for the farmer, Lauren of Bundarra, as Betty had been their first sow and mother to many litters of piglets.  But such decisions are part of running a rare-breed free range pig farm as a business.  

I've talked about Lauren before.  She and her husband Lachy are dedicated to producing amazing quality, sustainably farmed pork, where at every step of the way the pigs are treated with respect and fed only natural foods, on a property where farming techniques are considered in order to naturally improve the land.  Lauren is also a driving force behind sustainable food initiatives in her local community, and working hard to find ways to "close the system" to ensure quality and viability of local produce.  One key issue she is currently grappling with is the ongoing abysmal state of many abattoirs, an essential link in the chain that is rusty at best, broken in many cases.  Options for on-farm or mobile abattoirs could potentially really improve the lifecycle process of many small producers if readily available. 

Discussing some of these issues with Lauren has added to my thinking about city/country connections and about ways that non-farmers can play a useful role in the ongoing viability of sustainable farming practices.  On the one hand, you could say that I'm just a consumer and buying the meat is my only obligation. Alternatively, my view is that I'm part of the chain and if I want to be able to eat high quality, ethically grown meat then I have a responsibility to do what I can to make the chain as strong as possible.  So we have been talking about ways that some of my professional skills could assist with some of Lauren's objectives.   I'm sure there are many opportunities for interested people to get involved with farmers and regional food groups.  It's really all about starting the conversations and aligning skills.

Lauren has just written a moving post about Betty, and about some of the issues and challenges and opportunities for ethical and sustainably produced food.  It's a great read, that may require tissues.  

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Very intereting to read Lauren's as well. I will definitely check out their pork.