Let’s face it. If we don’t start thinking about how sustainable our practices are (especially those that we count on to survive, like our food system) then we’re not going to be around much longer.
Historically farmers were forced to think about things like how fertile their soil was and how healthy their animals were. Up until recently, that is. Now people can buy their animals from one corner of the country and their feed from another, while sending their waste products to a third party until they finally ship them off to slaughter at yet another location. Never did they have to think about where those animals came from, what was in the grain they purchased, how healthy the animal was or what goes on behind the butcher doors. Not to mention the amount of energy that was used trucking all the pieces of this puzzle around.
It’s clear to us that these things matter. And I don’t think we’re alone.
We are lucky enough to live in an area where there are many local sources of hay and grain to feed our animals. And whatever comes out, goes back to the ground to raise the fertility of the soil for the next season.
We maintain breeding stock of our chickens and turkeys throughout the year so that we don’t continually have to import animals to replenish our flocks. Our plan is to do the same for our goats, pigs and cows.
When you manage the whole cycle of breeding to raising to processing an animal (or even a vegetable), you gain some amazing perspective. You can’t help but be immersed in the life cycle and truly appreciate the process. I wouldn’t have it any other way.