As a mom, it’s important to me to know where our food comes from. While it isn’t practical for me to locally source every single food item we eat, it is important to know where our food is coming from: where it’s grown and the quality with which it is raised. American Farmers Network (AFN) is a great resource to learn more about how our food is raised. Their website is also a great place to buy organic and humanely raised meats.
AFN is committed to sustainable organic farming and humane animal treatment. AFN’s meat is sourced by a network of small family farmers who are committed to healthy and humane ranching. All of their beef is 100% organic and grass fed.
Grass-fed meats are healthy, nutritious, and humanely raised. Cattle are fed their natural diet of grasses, with no antibiotics or hormones. They are also free range, meaning the cattle roam in an open pasture to feed instead of being fed an “anything goes diet” and being confined to a feedlot. When they do reach maturity and it’s time to slaughter, it’s taken them 1.5 to 2 years to mature, versus grain fed cattle, which mature at about 1 year because of a combination of high-energy foods, drugs, and confinement used to fatten them up more quickly.
Oh, and don’t be confused by the labeling of meats as “natural.” USDA standards for labeling meat as “natural” aren’t very stringent. Many “natural” meat products only restrict the use of hormones and antibiotics in the few months leading up to slaughter. Better than nothing, I guess, but a far cry from organic meats where the animal has to have been born and raised on certified organic pasture and fed only certified organic diets. They also have to have unrestricted access to the outdoors, no feedlot confinement, and they can never have received hormones or antibiotics. Organic practices really focus on the natural condition of the animals. For example, cattle ate vegetarians naturally, so they are only fed organic vegetarian feed. Organic meat means good living conditions traceable back to the source.
We love our local farmers market in Beaverton, OR. I know we can get locally grown items, which have been pasture raises, are free range, and have no growth hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides.
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