Where to Visit a Pasture Raised Chicken Farm Near Me
At Pasturebird, we’re all about transparency in agriculture. Food labels can be terribly misleading, and while at one point pasture raised chicken was your best bet for ensuring you were getting a product that was not only healthier for you but also the animals, we’ve recently become disheartened to learn that there are some companies calling their chicken “pasture raised” when really their chickens aren’t much better off than conventionally farmed chickens. These companies use factory farming practices, open a few doors in their barn, and call their chicken pasture raised. Companies like this have the power to give the whole industry a bad rap, and we’re not ok with that.
So how do you know which companies to trust? Look for farms that invite you to examine their agricultural practices - not just online or in print, where clever photos can make anything look the way they want, but farms that actually let you visit and see for yourself the way the animals live. You can tell a lot about a company’s ethics by how transparent they are - those that refuse transparency or cloak their business operations in clever marketing tactics rather than actual transparency are often not to be trusted. That’s why we offer farm tours at Pasturebird, and cultivate a robust social media presence where we post real time videos that allow you to see the way our birds live and eat. While it may not always be practical to invite civilians onto a working farm, social media allows us to provide a window into our world even when we don’t have a scheduled farm tour that you can visit in person.
It used to be that agriculture and local farms were a vibrant and important part of most communities. With the advent of large scale industrial agriculture in the second half of the twentieth century, farming became further removed from everyday life, and most people remained completely unaware of how the food they purchased was grown or produced. This lack of accountability can result in unethical companies focusing more on the profit margin than the quality of their products and the welfare of their animals. Thankfully, in recent years there has been a shift to more people wanting to learn and educate themselves about their food choices, and this has resulted in a movement of consumers who are interested in learning about where their food comes from, and holding the companies they buy from to a higher ethical standard.
Transparency Benefits Both the Farmers and their Consumers
While the shift to people wanting to learn more about their food sources is a positive one, it can be difficult for farmers to communicate with consumers without first providing them with an education in agriculture. According to the research paper “Opening the Doors to Agriculture: The Effect of Transparent Communication on Attitude”:
The limited agricultural experience and knowledge of today’s consumer coupled with their concerns regarding industrialized agricultural practices has complicated the conversation between producers and consumers.
Transparency as a system of checks and balances exists in many industries, but is particularly important in the agricultural industry, because it’s not an exaggeration to say that there is no industry more important than that which provides the food that we eat. Transparency benefits farmers by allowing them to educate and more effectively communicate with their consumers, and it benefits the consumers by allowing them to learn more about their food sources and make sure that they are supporting companies that align with their own ethics.
How to Visit a Pasture Raised Chicken Farm
Depending on your location, you may be lucky enough to be able to visit the farms that grow or raise your food. We offer regular farm tours at Pasturebird, and if you support us or other ethical agricultural companies, social media can provide a great tool for communicating with farms and figuring out how you might plan a visit, if that’s something that they offer.
We’ve spoken before about our partnership with Land to Market, a company that offers an outcome based regenerative certification (meaning that it holds companies accountable to the claims they make about regenerating the Earth through their agriculture or production practices). Land to Market can be an excellent resource for finding other ethical farms and businesses, and if you find one local to you, it never hurts to reach out to them directly to see if they offer farm tours or other methods of transparency such as regular social media videos or “behind the scenes” looks at their methods.
Localharvest.org is another great resource for finding local farms, and it allows you to enter your city to show you the farms nearest to you. Once you narrow this down, you can reach out to the farms directly, or visit their individual websites to learn about how they maintain transparency and whether they allow farm visits.
What to Remember When Visiting a Pasture Raised Chicken Farm
As laudable as transparency in agriculture is, and as much as we love to offer farm tours to our consumers and encourage other farms to do the same, it’s important to remember that first and foremost, we are a working farm! It’s important to respect the land, respect the animals, and respect the equipment when visiting a working farm. This mutual respect is what allows us to continue to offer physical transparency in the form of inviting consumers to our farm.
Second, wear comfortable clothes and shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dusty. We run a pretty clean operation, but it is a farm, and we’d hate a fear of getting a little dirt on your clothes to take away from the experience of visiting us and seeing firsthand what Pasturebird is all about.
Last but not least, as much as we love dogs, please leave yours at home. Our animals are used to our own highly trained livestock guard dogs, but other dogs can easily spook our cattle. You can book your next tour with us HERE and see for yourself what Pasturebird is all about.