I had an interesting day today working a booth at a local farmer’s market…. not something that I do on a regular basis. I was very excited to be placed between a booth for Hunter Cattle, a local sustainable farm that produces grass fed and pasture raised beef and pork; and Southern Swiss Dairy, a local dairy that produces milk, cheese, ice cream, and butter. It not only presented me with a great opportunity to do a little grocery shopping, but a chance to see the number of people who stopped to ask why this source of meat and dairy was different, better, and yes, more expensive, than what they are used to buying at the grocery store. And it was wonderful to see the education that was taking place right there at the market.
It was also wonderful to see these two businesses succeeding and being profitable. If a business is praiseworthy, we should do all we can to make it profitable, as well. As consumers, it is with our money that we express our values. What things do you value? What do you want to see more of in this world? What is important to you in your life? However you answer these questions, it is important to apply those values to the products that you buy, the businesses that you patronize, and the companies that you support with consumer dollars.
I have become repeatedly annoyed by the Occupy Wall Street Movement and their claims that they are the 99, not that I disagree, but because they are seeking government intervention for the 99. Here’s the thing, we are the 99%, and we hold the power…. we carry that power around with is in the form of currency, little plastic cards, and check books. We don’t need the government to step in to provide more regulation, we just need to step up and reward companies that operate with integrity by giving them our business; and punish those that act irresponsibly by NOT patronizing them.
The same principle applies to agriculture, reward those that are making responsible decisions regarding sustainable practices and any other practices that we find laudable. If consumers are not willing to pay a higher price for healthier, better quality foods produced in a sustainable and humane manner, then local farmers will never be able to stay in business to provide this valuable service. On the other side of the coin, as long as consumers are flocking to the grocery store to pay bottom dollar on factory farmed meat (meat that is produced in a way that harms the environment, is detrimental to our health, is a drain on the communities in which they exist) then THOSE companies will thrive, grow, continue, and prosper. As the 99, we not only hold the key to our own improvement, we also must accept that we are responsible for our current state (ie, this current economy, leaders that refuse to act on OUR behalf, environmental problems, rampant health problems..ok, I could go on, but I won’t).
I apologize for my little rant, I got a little bit side-tracked in this post. I intended to highlight these two businesses that I feel are such wonderful examples of what I hope to help promote in this process. So, in their own words, here is why Hunter Cattle Company does what it does.
Hunter Cattle Company believes in the healthy benefits of Grassfed Beef, pastured Pork, Free-Range Chickens, and Free-Range Eggs. Our family owned and managed farm is committed to providing the healthiest, best tasting beef, pork, poultry, and eggs for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plate. We raise and finish our cattle on grass, free to roam and graze. Our pigs are pastured, free to roam and root the way they were intended to. Our chickens get their nutrients from the fields making their meat tasty and the eggs richer than those bought at the grocery store. Our animals receive no added growth hormones, steroids, or antibiotics, and are not subjected to feed lots or cages. Hunter Cattle is committed to the humane treatment of all the animals on our farm, ensuring their health and happiness at all times. We invite you taste the difference! (www.huntercattle.com)
And by the way, I enjoyed some DELICIOUS, farm fresh, pasture raised bacon when I got home.... worth every penny! And since it was pasture raised .... eating a natural diet and free to roam... that bacon actually has healthy benefits including: vitamin E, beta carotene, vitamin C, and even omega 3 fatty acids.