Let’s take a critical look at the age old saying, “You are what you eat!” This statement stands true weather you’re a human being, a chicken or an earthworm! The things we put into our bodies have an effect on us, physically and mentally. And with us human beings at top of our food chain we have the privilege of access to lots of different foods that influence our well being. Plants, fungi, animals, and water are all part of our varying diets, and all of these foods have intakes and diets of their own to help them grow, just as we use them to eventually help us grow.
It’s important to recognize where our food is coming from. If that piece of spinach we are eating was grown in a poor soil environment, and it needed a lot of human inputs ie. fertilizer, pesticides and fungicides to grow. It will not be able to give your body the full spectrum of nutrience a green is capable of. This is simply because the the beginning of it’s food chain was not able to supply the amount of nutrience that spinach needed to grow. Let’s compare that, to a piece of spinach that was able to use the healthy bacteria and readily available nutrience in a healthy soil environment. Plants and animals that grow in healthy nutrient rich environments are able to supply our bodies with more energy and vitamins. They too need to live healthy lives so that when their energy is finally passed onto us, it is done in the most clean and healthy form possible. If you are eating plants or animals fed foods that you yourself would not consider safe for consumption, what is the point in consuming that animal, “you are what you eat” right?
Why We Raise Animals
Soil resilience and soil health are incredible important to vegetable farmers. As organic producers it is fundamental for us to raise our animals on pasture. As farmer Josh says, “The animals at TapRoot Farms are on pasture because that’s where animals need to be, on the soil!” It is not only fair to the animals to be able to live healthy lives but “It’s very beneficial to the soil to have the animals eating, and foraging on the grass. There is a symbiotic relationship between animals and soil and the biology. On our farm the animals are a big part of recycling the nutrients in our fields. They eat the grass and ruminate, and if they are not ruminating animals, their food passes through and essential nutrients from their digestive systems comes out the other end more available for the grass or the vegetables to grow!” We are proud that eating our meat benefits our bodies as much as it benefits our farms resilience and soil building.
The Costs of Raising Pastured Animals
Having our pigs and cows out on pasture, and our chickens, running free range on the farm, are some of the ways we ensure resilience. We supplement our animals grass and vegetable scrap diets with NON GMO grain, and soy based feed from Purina. Sourcing non GMO grain is extremely important to us. Josh says, “we aren’t really sure about the health risk to the animals (when using GMO seeds), and so we avoid the potential risk.” And in terms of using GMO seeds or grains, “we don’t like that the GMO seeds are patented. They are basically Frankenstein seeds. You can’t reuse them and we like the practice of seed saving, and the continued use of seeds!”
Raising our animals in this way means that when we bring our meat to market it has a comparably higher price point. But raising happy animals with healthy diets also means our meat has high nutritional value, flavour and provides buyers with a more holistic understanding of their meat. “There is really no other way we would farm, we are animals lovers, we are omnivores and we enjoy eating meat, especially when we know were it comes from and how it was raised” Says Josh. You can find our pasture raised, non GMO meat in the Freezer at Noggins Corner Farm Markets, offered as a share in our weekly CSA and soon in the cafeteria at Acadia University.