No one ever should need to justify his or her choice of buying sustainably raised foods but it’s nice to have some talking points on hand. Fortunately Sustainabletable.org puts out so many great handouts including one called “Why Buy Sustainable” which we’ve summarized here with a few added insights from Petaluma’s Tara Firma Farms.
- Healthier. Grass-fed beef has two to six times more omega-3s than factory farmed grain-fed; not to mention sustainably farmed meats and produce rarely if ever has instances of widespread contamination due to questionable hygiene practices.
- More Nutritious. Sustainable means local which means fruits and vegetables spend less time getting to you from when (and where) they are harvested. Food loses nutrients once harvested so the quicker from farm to plate, the more nutritious.
- Tastes Better. Sustainable farms like Tara Firma Farms believe one key to better tasting meat is raising the animal in a stress free environment. Stress causes the animals to release adrenaline and endocrine which adversely affects the meat’s flavor and texture. There is a reason industrial foods are often injected with all sorts of saline solutions and vegetable oils to improve flavor and “mouth feel.”
- Animal Welfare. Sustainably-raised animals are treated humanely and enjoy their natural behaviors such as rooting in the dirt or pecking the ground. It’s well-documented the conditions factory farmed animals endure.
- Worker Welfare. on factory farms also endure dangerous conditions and low wages. Employees on sustainable farms are paid a fair wage and treated with respect.
- Community Welfare. Sustainable farms filter money back into the rural communities where they are based.
- Energy Use. Raising animals on factory farms uses large amounts of fossil fuels to harvest the crops that feed the animals, run the electricity in the barns, transport the animals, transport the food, etc.
- Saves Family Farms. Eating sustainably helps preserve the cultural heritage of the small independent family farmer. Since 1950 over 2 million family farms that raised hogs have disappeared. If this continues the only farms left may be factory farms.
Go to http://www.tarafirmafarms.com/ for information on Tara Firma Farms commitment to sustainable eating.