Georgia’s 3rd Annual Pastured Poultry Week

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Next week, Georgia (and especially Atlanta) will be celebrating Pastured Poultry Week brought to us by Georgians for Pastured Poultry!  Georgians for Pastured Poultry was created by Compassion in World Farming and other organizations and individuals (Sean Doty being a big one). This week celebrates restaurants, groups and individuals that support and participate in purchasing/consuming/raising chickens that have been ethically raised.

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Certifications to Look For and What They Mean

Doing research on whether the meat, dairy or eggs you’re buying has been ethically treated is often time consuming and difficult.  Especially when you’re standing in the grocery store.  I understand that and I’ve tried to give you some time-saving tips like using AWA’s Food Labels Exposed app and a description of Whole Food’s 5 Step Animal Welfare Rating but what if you’re not at Whole Foods or don’t have time to use the app?  Here is a list of some nationally recognized labels that you may see at your grocery store and what they mean for an animals welfare.

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Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference 2014 – Day of the Conference

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So in my previous blog, I described the amazing farm tour of White Oak Pastures that I was able to attend through the Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference put on by Vital Awareness.  The next day was the actual conference held at the Gwinnett Center.  The conference was a great mix of farmers, consumers, nonprofit activists, meat processors, and any other professionals associated with the sustainable food industry.  Thankfully, I was surrounded by those passionate about changing the current state of our food industry ruled by big ag (big agriculture).

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2014 Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference – White Oak Pastures Farm Tour

This weekend was the first annual Southeastern Sustainable Livestock Conference put on by the talented women at Vital Awareness and I had such a blast attending! I chose to purchase the ticket that included a farm tour to White Oak Pastures on Friday and then entrance into the conference on Saturday.  I’ve talked about White Oak Pastures a lot on this blog because they are one of the front runners in the ethical and sustainable eating movement in Georgia.  Will Harris is practically a celebrity and for good reason.  One of the most important factors in this movement is transparency on every level of the food system and White Oak Pastures is an amazing example of total transparency.  This post will summarize my tour!

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Since When Is The Truth Controversial? – A Look At Ag-Gag Laws

I find myself saying this way too often, but since when is the truth controversial?  To which I am able to answer myself – since always.  There are always groups or individuals who stand to lose something from the truth whether it’s power, money or credibility.

I’ve mentioned ag-gag laws before in this blog, but mostly in passing. Ag-gag laws are basically anti-whistleblower laws that make the undercover filming of animal cruelty in factory farms, dairy plants, slaughterhouses, etc. illegal (link).  If it weren’t for these brave individuals willing to risk their freedom, we wouldn’t know the full extent of the abuse animals sustain while in these “farms”.

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Oh Snap!

It has been a dream of mine for a long time now to spread the word about healthy, sustainable and ethical eating to everyone – including those that are under a lot of financial stress.  In one of my past posts, I touched on how a family of four on welfare can receive a maximum monthly allotment of $668 leading to an incredibly tight budget.  It is becoming more and more apparent that there are direct correlations between obesity rates, poverty and education levels (link).

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Garnish & Gather – Atlanta’s New Best Friend

So I’ve done posts before of the various avenues you can take to get your hands on some of Georgia’s ethical and sustainable food but Garnish & Gather takes it to a whole new level.   Garnish & Gather works with local farmers to get you the freshest, most humanely raised food straight to your door and then teaches you how to cook it!  Straight from their site, “With Garnish & Gather you are supporting local family farmers, giving back to Atlanta charities, helping local food artisans all while nourishing those you love with honest food. We are here to make a difference, not only in the way we eat but in the way we connect with our foods, our farmers and our community. There is a movement happening all around us. Join us in it.”

This movement is all about community and education.  As I’ve said many times before, it takes work to find out where your food comes from.  Thankfully, Garnish & Gather does the work for you.  Take a look at all the local farms that they work with on a regular basis: http://garnishandgather.com/your-farmers.html.  There’s hard working farmers raising their animals the way that was intended all around us.  We just have to open our eyes and look.

Garnish & Gather allows you to have your meals delivered to your home or place of work or you can pick them up at a variety of locations within Atlanta and the surrounding areas.  If you’re more skilled at cooking or just want some of the basics (bread, milk, cheese, raw meat, etc.) check out their provisions shop to load up on some local goodness. You can even find local sweets, tea, kimchi, vinegar and much more!

Support your local farmer.  Support your local chefs.  Support your local artisans. It’s getting easier and easier by the day, so why not join us?

Titans of the Poultry Industry

Americans love their chicken.  On Superbowl Sunday this year, an estimated 1.25 chicken wings were consumed by Americans.  A couple years ago, chicken surpassed beef as the number 1 meat of choice in the U.S.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service

So what are the real costs associated with this new-found obsession for cheap chicken?

Some of the following descriptions or images may be upsetting or disturbing (they should be).

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Exciting Opportunities for You to Get Involved!

Alright people, I have been wanting to announce these two amazing opportunities for a while now, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t do it too soon!

Georgia Organics 2014 Conference 

At the end of this month on February 21st and 22nd, I will be working at and attending Georgia Organic’s 2014 conference, Green Acres: Saving the Planet One Bite At A Time.  The conference this year is in Jekyll Island at the Jekyll Island Convention Center.  Friday and Saturday will be filled with amazing food, educational workshops, exhibitions by local companies and nonprofits and networking opportunities where you can talk to farmers, activists and others who are just interested in learning more about eating organically, sustainably and ethically!  You can even choose to participate in several farm tours to visit where your food comes from.

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New Year’s Resolutions That Can Really Make a Difference

Who hasn’t made New Year’s resolutions they know they’ll never keep?  Or keep for a month or two and then give up on?  Most of us are guilty of this and it’s nothing to be ashamed of because as this article from the New York Times effectively sums up, we usually make big sweeping promises instead of small changes that we can actually stick to.

I challenge you to make a change that will improve your health, in several ways your wallet, the environment and the welfare of animals.  As always, I challenge you to work towards adopting a more ethical and sustainable diet.  Where do you even start?

Cut back on your meat consumption and eat better quality meat 

In one of my previous posts, I examined the history and health risks of U.S. meat consumption (link).  It’s obvious that over the years Americans have been eating more and poorer quality meat, which just perpetuates the factory farming system.  Ever heard of “Meatless Monday”?  You may scoff at it saying, “I’m not a vegetarian – why go completely meatless??”  The point of this trend is not to turn you into a vegetarian or vegan but to decrease your meat consumption, encourage you to try out recipes you may never have tried before and to make a statement to the factory farming system that hey, we aren’t mindless slaves to your cheap, poor quality product. Check out www.meatlessmonday.com or google “Meatless Monday recipes” for endless recipes you can do at all skill levels.  And hey, cutting out meat for one day a week will save you quite a bit of money and I promise you won’t feel deprived.

 

Get informed on what you’re putting in your mouth 

Thankfully, there is more and more information becoming available to the average consumer about where their food is coming from.  I made a post about how Whole Foods can help you choose ethically with their 5 step animal welfare rating system.  They also list the farms that provide the ethical meat so you can go home and look up the website, see pictures of the farm and learn more about the farmer that raised the meat you are eating for dinner.  I also did a post on the new app from Animal Welfare Approved that helps you decipher definitions of commonly used words like “cage-free” and “naturally raised”.  Spend an extra 5 minutes at the grocery store to see what you’re actually paying more money for.  Is it legitimately humane and sustainable or is this particular company taking advantage of you and charging you more for an inferior product.

 

Cook more at home 

Everyone knows that cooking at home rather than going out to eat is more economical.  But, cooking at home has also been proven to increase happiness.  Feeling accomplished when a certain recipe turns out great or having fun with your significant other or your kids while trying out a new recipe is an amazing feeling.  Also, cooking more at home will allow you to save money from going out and use that to spend more on better quality meat.  Imagine having a grass-fed steak at home for a fraction of the price you would pay for a corn-fed, factory farmed steak at say Longhorn?  Check out my post about a few places to buy ethically raised meat in Georgia.

 

When you do eat out, support local and ethical eateries 

Everyone wants to go out and be waited on once in a while.  Or eat something you’d never cook for yourself at home (say fried chicken).  I’ve done posts on both Farm Burger and Bantam and Biddy, but there are tons of places in and around Atlanta to go.  Moxie Burger in Marietta offers White Oak Pastures lamb, Yeah! Burger has White Oak Pastures beef, Ormby’s has Eden Farm’s pork chops, 5 Seasons offers several ethical choices, and really I could go on forever.  Many restaurants in the area are utilizing local farms produce and meat and more are popping up every month.   Not only are you supporting a local Georgia business but also the ethical eating movement.

 

Visit a local farm 

Spend a weekend to go out and actually visit a farm from where your food comes from!  It’ll help you connect the entire process and you’ll get a chance to ask questions, learn more about your farmers and maybe even buy some farm fresh products!  White Oak Pastures even has a restaurant on property where you can eat amazing meals cooked with ingredients from 50 feet away.  Check out one of my earlier posts to see a list of just some of the amazing farms that Georgia has to offer.

 

Whether you choose to accept one or more of these New Year’s resolutions, it’s all about the journey.  Make 2014 a year of ethical eating!

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