Local Farmer Explains the Benefits of Pasture Raised Animals
A Five Part Series
Part 4: Transparency
You’re probably reading the title of this post and wondering what transparency has to do with raising chickens on pasture. Merriam-Webster defines the root of transparency, the word transparent, to mean “honest and open.” We think honesty and openness should be at the forefront of agriculture. There are few things more important than being able to have a healthy level of trust when it comes to the food that you eat. As we’ve mentioned before, one of the reasons we started this company is because as consumers ourselves, we felt as though we couldn’t trust the food labels we were coming across in the grocery store. Even companies that claimed to produce “free range” or “organic” meat - we learned that oftentimes, these were just convenient labels to engender false trust in consumers and boost the company’s profits.
We started Pasturebird so that we would always be able to trust where our meat came from - and so that we could bring that same level of trust to our consumers. It’s a core value of our company and something that we believe so strongly in that we welcome visits from our customers to check in on the how’s and why’s of what we do.
Why is Transparency Important?
The environmental impact of meat production is not insubstantial. Even though chicken has been ranked as having the least negative impact on the environment compared to other types of meat production, the fact remains that ninety-nine percent of chicken raised in the United States uses factory farming methods. These methods are both more harsh on the environment and on the chickens.
You’re probably thinking - but wait...my corner grocery store is full of “organic” and “free range” chicken and eggs - how can it be true that ninety-nine percent of chicken is factory farmed?
The truth is, there is very little oversight in farming, and to use the “free range” label, chickens just need to be given access to the outdoors. Hard to believe there is actually no regulatory body that inspects the farm to make sure that the chickens are actually going outside - or that the conditions they live in while inside are sanitary or humane. There is likewise no set amount of time that the chickens need to be outdoors, how accessible the outdoor area is to them, or how large the outdoor area is and what condition it must be kept in. What does that mean? Well, in theory, if the barn contains a door that leads to a parking lot, technically those chickens could be considered free range if they are technically able to access that outdoor area.
For those of us who are concerned with animal welfare, environmental sustainability, and consuming high quality and nutrient dense meat, this greenwashing of food labels just doesn’t cut it. We want to know that the products we’re investing in - because we do believe that good health is an investment - actually live up to the hype. We found that this was a huge problem when we switched to a more conscious way of consuming, and wanted to make sure that the meat we were eating was as healthy as we were being led to believe. So we decided to raise both the chickens and the "bar" ourselves!
What Makes Pasturebird Different?
Since the main reason we started this company was because we craved more transparency from the companies we supported, we make it a point to offer transparency to our consumers. “Inspect What You Expect” is a favorite saying of Farmer Paul’s from the Marine Corps, and we run our business by that motto as well. We welcome our consumers to inspect our farm and make sure it’s living up to their expectations.
We don’t just talk the talk - we practice what we preach and we think it’s important to give everyone the opportunity to come out and see for themselves. We offer farm tours, farm events and workshops, and post frequent videos on social media that give our customers a glimpse into the way we do things on the farm. It’s one thing to read about how our chickens are outdoors 24/7 in a covered, groundless coop that’s tall enough for Farmer Paul himself to stand in. But it’s another thing entirely to witness that firsthand and see how happy and healthy our chickens are. We’ve talked a lot in this blog about how our chickens are afforded the opportunity to forage on pasture, giving them a steady, nutrient-dense diet of worms, bugs, grass, plants, nuts, and seeds. If you’re a frequent reader, you’ve likely read our posts about how this nutrient-dense diet fosters a healthy immune system in our chickens, and allows us to raise them without antibiotics and hormones that are so prevalent in factory farming.
But as we’ve said before, it’s one thing to read something and another entirely to see for yourself that it’s true. That’s why we’ve given over 15,000 farm tours in the last 5 years, and make transparency a central focus of our mission. We love to show people around the farm, and we’re super proud to show off what we do here at Pasturebird and how our methods and convictions make us different from our peers. You can read a fancy label all day and not know if you can trust it, but when you can actually see for yourself how healthy our chickens really are; how green and healthy the pasture is that they’re raised on and how much access they’re given to fresh air, sunshine, and healthy food, it gives you a whole new appreciation for your food.
In today’s society, when it’s hard to know who you can trust when it comes to your food, we think that transparency is more important than ever. If you’re local, we’d love to have you visit the farm so we can show you firsthand what makes Pasturebird different. And if you’re following us from afar, be sure to check out our social media regularly - we love to talk about what we do, and post frequent updates from the farm! We have an open "coop" policy and welcome everyone to see what we are doing for themselves.