Customers often ask us if we are certified humane or organic. So we want to share a little more about the process of certification and our position. The truth is, as small-scale family farmers going through the process of any official certification is lengthy, expensive and often times extremely challenging for an individual farmer. But we know that certification adds another layer of guarantee for our customers and so after a thorough examination and evaluation of all relevant certifications available, we have decided to pursue the following:
Animal Welfare Approved
Ecological Outcome Verified
Well, we are a cooperative of small-scale family farmers practicing regenerative agriculture. Our standards already largely align with both of these certifications and we believe them to be robust, thorough and provide the best treatment of both the animals and the land. In short, we believe them to be the highest standards available, aligned to our mission.
The compassionate treatment of farm animals is incredibly important us. That is why we put care into our procurement choices and are transparent about our suppliers, all of whom are committed to ensuring animals have a humane life and small farmers are supported. We believe we can do more and that is why we are committing to certify all of our beef, pork, and lamb with Animal Welfare Approved – a certification recognized by the ASPCA® Shop With Your Heart program. Although we are well on our way to certification, it is a long process. Some of our products will be certified this year, but rolling this out to every farmer and supplier in our cooperative will take time. Our aim is to be fully certified in every aspect by 2021. As we are a growing cooperative and adding new farms that adhere to our stringent standards, each new farmer will have a 12 month period to undergo certification recognized by the ASPCA® Shop With Your Heart program.
As a cooperative actively practicing regenerative agriculture, we are most interested in a certification that acknowledges and upholds this. That is why we will be working with Savory Institute to become Ecological Outcome Verified which means using empirical evidence and tangible outcomes to make better land management decisions. As we have farms all over the country and are always growing all certifications take time to audit and implement but we are committed to formal certification, even as we implement the practices required every day.
What about organic or non-GMO?
We are already certified as non-GMO, which means that any supplemental rations provided to our poultry and pigs is certified to be non-GMO. We are not certified organic, but all our animals live outdoors on pasture where no-spray or pesticides have been used. Organic certification for us largely deals with the food that the animal eats. We chose not to pursue this because we don’t believe it to be robust enough. Chickens for example, can live in a cramped house and never see the light of day, but if they eat organic feed, they can be certified organic. For this reason we have chosen to pursue certifications that relate to how we raise animals in a regenerative manner and how we treat those animals in that practice.
Stay tuned as we work towards formally receiving our certifications.