There are a few tenets of organic meat production which have influenced the way we run our butcher shop: care for the animal, for the environment, and for what we're putting in our bodies. They aren't seperate concerns, either — all of it works together to create the high-quality organic meat we put on our shelves. When the environment is safe and abundant, animals can be healthy and happy, the meat will be delicious and nourish our bodies without the use of chemicals, fertilisers, vaccinations, antibiotics or GMO's. Organic farming is about returning to the root of human nourishment; connecting with the animal and the Earth to nourish our bodies and our hearts.
If you follow our blog, you probably feel similarly. We've been operating for many years in Forest Glen, before the organic diet shot into popularity. In the last few years, organic eating has become more 'mainstream' and now you can see organic meat products on the shelves in all of the big supermarket stores. This would be great — making organic meat more accessible for the everyman — though there's an important question we have to ask when we see these new products: what organic farming practices are in play here?
If large chain supermarkets are putting thousands of organic meat products on the shelves every week, you can only imagine the scale with which they're producing animals. Usually, to meet demand, conventional farmers will take young away from their mother early to perpetrate fast breeding turnaround, they'll vaccinate and medicate against possible illness as early as a few months old, they'll keep animals in tight spaces so they are able to keep track of them, they may even pump the animal with GMO's or include it in their food to bulk the animal faster. All of these tactics allow them to put meat on shelves every day. If all of these tactics go against organic farming, then how do they farm mass organic product?
Unfortunately, we believe the answer is organic by neglect. Cattle especially are released into huge fields to graze and grow up on their own in huge numbers, living 'naturally' in abandoned paddocks. If an animal gets sick or injured, there may be no one around to notice and they may die on their own without treatment. When it comes time to harvest the stock, farmers come in on utes and with helicopter, rounding animals up and herding them into trucks. This could be the first time the cows have seen helicopters or utes, adding stress to their lives which is compounded by the tight trucks, long journeys and waiting lines for slaughter. Pigs and chickens may experience a similar phenomenon at mass 'organic' farms.
When the paddocks are neglected in this cycle of mass organic production, it doesn't have the time or support to grow or retain/rebuild the nutrients which is vital for nurturing the animal and sustaining life in the Earth. It relies on the cycles of weather, which have recently been thrown into disarray, with flash floods and long periods of drought.
Organic does not equal neglect. Indigenous cultures all over the world know how important unity, connection and care is for the Earth and the people who live on it. Children who are left in a classroom with only other children will play, socialise and grow, but there is no one there to focus them, to care for them and to inspire them.
Next time you see an 'organic' product on supermarket shelves, consider where it really came from. Any farmer worth supporting should be transparent and clear about their practices and purposes, inspiring you to support them in their goal to improve the way humans eat, live with and breed animals.
We know for many of you supporting local organics farmers and butchers like us can be difficult. The days get busy, the kids get hungry and you're already going to Coles because there's a very specific brand of juice your kid likes: trust us, we get it. It's hard not to be seduced by the easy choice, to just grab whatever is on the shelf — we aren't willing to let you compromise on what you care about. We aim to make Sunshine Coast Organic Meats' high-quality, organic products as accessible for you as possible. That is why we offer online ordering, for pick up and delivery, with free delivery when you join our Organic Meat Club. We're open on the weekends and 7am every weekday to make sure our doors are open to you.
Help us help you, help the animals and Earth and your family, by signing up to our Organic Meat Club or our newsletter to keep apprised of important information, deals, new products and blogs like this one.