Everyone should eat less meat.
It sounds strange, coming from a grassfed beef farm. But a willingness to look at the whole picture of sustainability is essential to who we are at Foxhollow Farm. Our proprietors call themselves “Land Stewards” not “owners.” This distinction is intentional. As Janey Newton puts it, the idea here is “less about the dominance of the farmer, and more about the harmony between the farmer and the wisdom of the natural world.”
That’s how Foxhollow Farm came to be a grassfed beef farm in the first place, a choice made to replenish the soil and mitigate the effects of years of conventional farming on the land. Biodynamics offered the perspective of our farm as an entire ecosystem unto itself and the idea that everything we need on the farm can eventually come from the farm itself.
This idea of thinking about entire ecosystems brings us back to the topic at hand.
If everyone on the planet lived and ate like Americans do, we’d need approximately 5 Earths to sustain us. The average American consumes a whopping 185 pounds of meat per year. The vast majority of this meat is raised with conventional methods—that is, factory farming in concentrated animal feeding operations. These methods destroy landscapes, pollute water sources and air, contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, and require a steady stream of antibiotics and hormones for the animal.
We know what it sounds like. We’re not advocating for veganism, but we are advocating for thoughtfulness.
At Foxhollow Farm, we use a system called “rotational grazing.” Our herd grazes on different portions of our pasture every day, while the remainder of our pastures rests and works on growing more grass. The cows stimulate the grasses’ roots and promote even more growth. Their manure is the best fertilizer we could ask for, and they spread it all over the pasture for us, trampling it into the soil with their hooves.
Since we began using this system hand-in-hand with Biodynamics, we’ve seen our soil become richer, more diverse in beneficial bug species, and more balanced in healthy grasses. We’ve even seen the reappearance of a native grass species.
We’re not the only ones to notice the way that cows can repair the Earth (see the resource list below).
Everyone could stand to eat less meat, but eating meat very much has its place—and quality, happy, sustainable, local meat has a key place—in healing the problems conventional methods have created. Simply put: Know your farmer. Buy a little less meat. When you do, buy the good stuff.
-Meg Kennedy, Administrative Assistant