Only take anti-biotics unless there is something that is infecting your body that can cause permanent damage. It can take months and sometimes years to recover from the effects of anti-biotics. Don’t get me wrong, the book talks very highly of antibiotics as long as they are used sparingly. 4 out of 5 Americans use antibiotics at least once a year the CDC is fighting a losing battle against the constantly mutating bacteria that are resistant to anti-biotics. Oh and last but not least, make sure you guys are exercising in some way. Staying active is important for maintaining a healthy micro-biome. I suggest for you to read this book if it interests you, but be prepared for a ton of medical research.
On to the happenings on the farm! We have been spending our winter taking care of the baby and all of the necessary farm chores. The pigs and the chickens are eating quite a bit more now that there is less and less for them to eat out on pasture. A chicken will consume an incredible amount of bugs during the warm season, and they produce high quality eggs and meat as a bi-product! There is no better solution to a bug problem. We are working on a spreadsheet to plan for the 2016 year. Determine what projects need to be completed sooner rather than later and determine how much time we are willing to spend on these projects. I still have quite a bit of fence building to do which never seems to end. Even when I get the border fence finished I will need to start setting up rotational paddocks to move the animals around so they don’t stay in one place for very long. The movement of your livestock is the key to a healthy farm and pasture. Keeping the animals in the same place all the time can lead to illness and just a plain old mess. We are not about to destroy our land by not moving our animals.
PRP consume a feed ration that is high in protein and vitamins and minerals. They also consume quite a bit of green material out on pasture including bugs. These birds will metabolize the green forage to help balance out the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 fats. You want more Omega 3’s which is found in the green pasture, and less Omega-6 which is consumed from the grains that we feed to provide protein and calories. You need more Omega-3 fats for many benefits to the body including Gut health, Heart Health, and Brain function. It is for this very reason that people should be eating meat and eggs from animals that consume the pasture. Chicken breast contains very little fat. All of your beneficial fats that your body NEEDS are completely bypassed when you only consume the breast meat. I am not saying that you should stop consuming chicken breast; I am saying that you need to consume the entire bird all the way down to the bone broth you can make from the bone marrow. Please, Please, Please start balancing your diet and stop vilifying healthy fats. I am not coming up with this information based on my own opinions, I am simply stating the information I have absorbed through books that are based on medical research. If you are interested in some really good books just let me know. All of our animals including the Beef, Chicken, Goats, and Pigs consume the pasture to metabolize the well balanced products we sell. I want to be able to sustain-ably produce the products that we have and grow as a farm. It can be a lot of work to add the various levels of complexity to the products, and we are already spread pretty thin. Maybe once Bean can help slaughter chickens we will be able to part out birds. Until then we are going to package them whole like we have always done.
We have been working on producing a better mission statement and vision for the farm to help maintain our direction for growth. I am not going lie, this is incredibly hard. I could write/talk for days about how I want to make the world a better place through changing the food system, but to try and sum this all up into a 10-15 word sentence is excruciating. So when people ask me why I do what I do, I say, “I want to build relationships with people to help them live a healthy life.” How many grocery store owners walk around helping the shoppers get what they need? How many consumers go directly to the farmers and ask them for a product grown a particular way? I would be willing to bet that this sort of thing is rare. How many farmers are interested in educating themselves enough in health and wellness to understand the need for food that is grown to heal instead of cause harm to the body? Wow, that is a mouthful. If we could be a not-for-profit business I would be totally down with that. I want to build a business that is focused on improving the lives of others. Our products are not as cheap as your commodity grocery store products, but we are a business that is growing 100% based on the support of the local community. Every dollar that passes to the farm is immediately invested into our livestock to create a healthier and happier product. You see how many bad ass sentences I can come up with to describe what keeps me going every day?
Along with this mission and vision, we have been working out our goals. Our 20, 15, 10, 5, 3, 2, and 1 year plans are in the works. This has been a very eye opening experience for me. I feel like I have learned so much about myself in the process of building out these goals. I have recognized the need to be self-sustaining, so that I can focus all of my efforts on improving the lives of others. I would like to wake up every day with the drive and determination to introduce positive change in the lives of others. Our farm is too young to be able to pay all the bills and support itself, but we have plans to get to that point. I never want to retire from farming. I know I say this after 5 years of owning my own business, but I feel strongly about doing what you love so you never work a day in your life. I got this saying from my cousin Josh Galliano. His father had said it to him, and it is a saying that resonates with me. Why would I retire from something I love to do? I feel like this is an important aspect to living a long life. Staying active and mentally involved in something you enjoy doing. If you could quit your job today and never have to worry about money what would you be doing?