This cosmos is only now revealing itself as a result of scientific discoveries based on better microscopic imaging and DNA analysis. There is much still to learn, but it boils down to this: Plants nurture a whole world of creatures in the soil that in return feed and protect the plants, including and especially trees. It is a subterranean community that includes worms, insects, mites, other arthropods you’ve never heard of, amoebas, and fellow protozoa. The dominant organisms are bacteria and fungi. All these players work together, sometimes by eating one another.
"Cows have long since been climate change scapegoats, accused of farting and burping our atmosphere into a crisis, but grass-fed beef might just change that image. The difference isn’t in what they eat but how and where they graze. Cows in feedlots have their poop cleaned up for them... Grass-fed cattle poop on the fields that their food came from. So the organic matter gets returned right back to where it came from, building the soil up along the way as other cattle or farmyard chickens spread it all around. So while some carbon is indeed lost to the atmosphere, more is sequestered in the ground. Soil is the lifeblood of any farm, and the higher the organic matter content in the soil, the healthier and more stable it will be. It’s a natural, effective, and sustainable cycle that can actually improve the overall health of the land."
New York Times Magazine
"To think of domestication as a form of enslavement or even exploitation is to misconstrue the whole relationship, to project a human idea of power onto what is, in fact, an instance of mutualism between species... domestication happened when a small handful of especially opportunistic species discovered through Darwinian trial and error that they were more likely to survive and prosper in an alliance with humans than on their own. Humans provided the animals with food and protection, in exchange for which the animals provided the humans their milk and eggs and–yes–their flesh. Both parties were transformed by the relationship: animals grew tame and lost their ability to fend for themselves (evolution tends to edit out unneeded traits), and the humans gave up their hunter-gatherer ways for the settled life of agriculturists."
“The researchers tracked carbon sequestration over four years. And although the feedlot system produced less emissions (in terms of cow farts,) when looking at the entire lifecycle system, cattle raised in the AMP management system produced a net carbon SINK. The emissions were completely offset by the amount of carbon sequestered in the ground. And not just a little bit of carbon, it was a significant amount.”
Minnesota Public Radio
"The Briards also notice increased demand from customers looking for a connection to their food. They want to know who the farmer is and how the animal was raised. That trend shows no sign of slowing down, said Paul Hugunin, who works to promote locally grown food at the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. He said that if two-thirds of small meat processors retire in the next decade, it will be a significant blow to the local food movement and the ag industry itself. Small meat processors are a critical link connecting farms to consumers, Hugunin said."
"Just as we farmers have learned to create food in harmony with our ever-changing ecosystems, where the production of good food is the result of daily attention to the environment and the animals, so too do cooks need to pay attention to our food in the kitchen... start taking more time to enjoy your food. Grass-fed meats take longer to raise up on the farm. Take longer to enjoy them at your table. They have magnificent flavor, and each piece of meat will taste different from animal to animal, farm to farm, region to region. When we eat with attention and celebration, these flavors really shine through. "
The New York Times
"People love supporting local food and farms. But when was the last time you saw someone wearing a T-shirt that said "Support Local Slaughterhouses"? But if we want to eat eggs, dairy, and meat, we must come to terms with the need for good slaughter facilities available to all farmers. From 1979 to 2009, California went from having 70 slaughterhouses to 23. Because it is more complicated and costly to do so, nearly all large facilities refuse to work with smaller farms. This makes slaughtering the most serious bottleneck in the sustainable food chain."
The Livestock Conservancy
"Heritage animals are the animals that you'd find on your great-grandparents' farms... they tend to have better disease resistance, are well-adapted to their environments, and thrive in pasture-based settings. Many breeds used in large scale agriculture have been specifically selected for intensive production including rapid growth, feed efficiency, continuous milk or egg production, or other targeted production characteristics. Heritage breeds have genetics that are more "well-rounded." While breeders may select their animals for certain characteristics, they're not selected so narrowly so as to lose other valuable and biologically important characteristics."
"Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are important to our health. But modern diets tend to be too high in the omega-6 fatty acids, which can promote inflammation of tissues and lead to serious health problems. Many nuts, grains and vegetable oils are high in omega-6. At the same time, our diets are commonly low in omega-3 fatty acids, which tend to be anti-inflammatory. The benefits provided by omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be valuable in helping avoid a wide range of diseases, including cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD and auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis."
"U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than two million people are infected by drug-resistant germs each year, and 23,000 die of their infections. The causes are clear — people taking antibiotics for infections they cannot help; people failing to take a full course of antibiotics; natural mutation and evolution; and the widespread use of antibiotics to fatten up farm animals. 'The very liberal use of antibiotics as a growth promoter should not be encouraged,' Chan said."
"Farms that are highly diversified and rightly scaled tend, by their character and structure, toward conservation of the land, the human community, and the local economy."
"Kennedy wanted to cut back on the widespread use of antibiotics on farms to make animals grow faster and prevent disease. In particular, Kennedy sought to curb the farm use of tetracyclines. His reasoning was that the antibiotics could create resistant bacteria that would no longer be susceptible to the drugs — a potential threat to human health. Kennedy warned that bacteria move back and forth between people and animals, carrying genetic material for resistance in both directions. He predicted that antibiotic resistance would rise in the “linked ecosystem” shared by all."
"Grandin reminds us, as almost no one else has been able to do, that humans are not human without animals. We do not have the ability to see what animals see, to notice what they notice, but we once had a vastly greater ability to see animals themselves because we lived in working partnerships with them."
"Pigs, like people, produce vitamin D in their skin and in their fat when they spend time under the sun. So when a farmer raises his or her pigs outside on fresh pasture, not only do the animals enjoy a better existence than their confined counterparts, but their meat and fat also offer richer flavor and more nutrients."
Sugar Mountain Farm
"Every bit of the pig is useful, during life and beyond. Pigs were traditionally known as the mortgage lifters back before modern factory farming. In the past they were kept on dairy farms and known as the mortgage lifters because the sale of the pork saved the farm in hard times. The pigs ate any excess milk as well as the whey from butter and cheese making. These pigs would then get made into hams, bacon, and cuts which helped make the dairy profitable."
Iowa State University Extension
"Most of the time, buying a whole animal or part of an animal will be cheaper than if you were to buy the same meat as individual retail cuts—there is an economy to buying in bulk. "