By Andrew Gunther
| December 28, 2011
As the year comes to an end, it’s a tradition of mine to write a note of gratitude to our friends, farmers and ranchers, consumers, advocates, donors, and everyone else who has helped give the future of sustainable farming room to grow and flourish.
And what a year it has been! Animal Welfare Approved has yet again experienced a fantastic year of growth and innovation, driven by the ever-increasing demand for healthy, environmentally friendly and high-welfare products. Here are some highlights of significant milestones we have achieved over the last year. None of this could have been achieved without your continued support.
By Animal Welfare Approved
| December 14, 2011
Gina Edwards dispersed the flock of sheep she has raised since childhood in Northwest Missouri after college, but began raising livestock again when she and her husband Paul were stationed in San Antonio with the Air Force in 2007. They decided to get a few goats to eat some of the weeds their horses didn’t want. Rather than the “brush goats” Paul had envisioned, they ended up with pure blood Boer goats, a South African goat raised for meat production. They were soon hooked and began showing their goats, while every year growing their herd. In 2011, the Air Force moved them back to west central Missouri, where they established Edwards Goat Farm, an Animal Welfare Approved farm southeast of Kansas City, which sells goat breeding stock.
Kelley and Mark Escobedo of South Texas Heritage Pork raise hogs on 120 acres in South Texas. They began raising pigs in 2008 with the desire to provide better food for their family. Kelley and Mark purchased a pig that produced some of the best pork they had ever tasted and provided the peace of mind of knowing exactly what they were eating because they had complete control over what their animals were fed.
BeaverTree Farm has been raising and training championship Dexter cattle for over seven years, focusing on the breed because of its dual purpose as a milk and meat producing animal, its suitability to small acreage, and its good disposition. Imported from Ireland in the early 1900′s, Dexters are ideally suited to small acreages and the homestead farm. BeaverTree Farm is approximately 21 acres in size and its herd is typically about 20 in number. BeaverTree Farm is certified as an Animal Welfare Approved source farm for their Dexter cattle.
Famously, Carole Morison and her husband, Frank, walked away after more than two decades raising birds under contract for Perdue on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Her decision earned her a starring role in the Academy Award-nominated documentary Food, Inc., in which she gave viewers an inside look at the industrial system and its negative impacts on animals and farmers.
Jack Ward’s farm has been in his family since the late 1800s. Like his farmer father before him, Jack raises pastured Yorkshire, Hampshire and Berkshire pigs, as well as row crops on 350 acres in Seven Springs, North Carolina.
Caleb Johnson and his family raise Animal Welfare Approved pigs in Garland, North Carolina.
By Andrew Gunther
| December 2, 2011
As public interest in ethically produced food continues to flourish even in such difficult economic times, it’s perhaps somewhat inevitable that food businesses jump on the “grassfed” bandwagon. We’ve seen it happen with organic, where some of the rules that farmers and food manufacturers must follow in order to use the coveted organic label have been watered down or manipulated. This has happened to such an extent that many well-meaning organic consumers would now struggle to differentiate between some larger ‘organic’ operations and their industrial cousins. The same thing is now happening with the term “grassfed.” While the range of products, labels and brands that make grassfed claims grows day by day, the sad reality is that some of the grassfed meat, milk and cheese you can buy probably shouldn’t be labeled grassfed at all.
Fortunately, Animal Welfare Approved has just published an 18-page booklet called The Grassfed Primer to cut through the confusion surrounding the term “grassfed” and to help the public to understand the wide benefits that real grassfed farming systems can have for the environment, for farm animal welfare, and for our health.
Greg Gillman raises Animal Welfare Approved beef cattle in Westville, Florida.
Mary Fahey started Wise Acre Farm in 1997 when she purchased her first acreage in Arbuckle, CA. Although she had no prior background in farming, Mary had always kept an extensive vegetable garden as well as a variety of pets. Wise Acre Farm began as a small market garden and CSA and has now grown to over 20 acres producing a variety of fruits and vegetables, almonds and Animal Welfare Approved pastured eggs.