There are a number of reasons for wanting to buy locally sourced meat. For example, it can be much cheaper as the meat is not part of an extended supply chain. Also, it is healthier than other types of meat as most meat purchased locally is free-range and grass-fed or organically fed. Lastly, buying locally raised meats supports the local economy. When you buy meat from local farmers, it allows for relationship building with producers and customized orders, which is beyond the “take it or leave it” proposition available at most grocery stores. The best ways to find a local, quality meat producer is through word of mouth, social media, seeking out the nearest butchers, joining the Good Meat Switchboard, and researching online.
How to Buy Locally Sourced Meat
The Good Meat Switchboard
The Good Meat Switchboard is part of the Good Meat Project which aims to promote local producers across the US. All vendors source their meats from local producers referred to as Good Meat Farmers. The platform is an opportunity for marketing shares of meat as well as “a la carte” services. Equally important is that The Good Meat Switchboard is a direct-to-consumer platform. It offers additional value by allowing consumers to send in questions, swap recipes, and find items such as sausage-making equipment. You can also get advice on how to cut and cook different cuts of meat. Best of all, joining the switchboard is free of charge!
It might seem funny to think of local farms having websites, but some do. Although the websites might not be the sharpest, they allow you to directly connect with the farmers and send them your questions. Don’t just look for meat farmers online, as some farms sell meat, dairy products, and crops. To point you in the right direction, below are suggestions of where to look online.
American Grass-fed Association
Membership of the AGA association requires producers to be certified. This means that they must meet and maintain the standards as set out by the AGA. AGA standards are regarded by most industry-leading organizations as the best standards for grass-fed dairy and meat products. The AGA keeps a database of all certified farmers.
ASPCA Certified Farms
For consumers with animal welfare concerns, the ASPCA offers a database of farmers certified by the Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) organization, that are Certified Humane (CH) or have achieved the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Steps 2 and above. The database is arranged by the state to make the search for humane local food sources a little easier.
Regenerative farming is a commitment to move towards sustainable farming, land management, and food growing. The goal of regenerative farming is to improve climate stability, re-establish deteriorated ecological, social, and economic systems, and end global hunger. The site maintains a database and map of regenerative farms and food initiatives around the world. Search by zip code, state, or product on the site.
Eat Wild has a database of dairy, meat, and egg producers by state. Local Harvest is for local meat and food sources. Farm Aid links to family-owned farms. Also, Get Real Chicken connects consumers to free-range poultry. Also, look for regenerative farms on Soil Centric.
Additional Information: Food & Meat Directory – Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA)
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