Many in the food world were shocked by the announcement of the sale of Niman Ranch to poultry giant Perdue. As one of the go-to brands behind Chipotle’s antibiotic-free pledge, and a relatively accessible alternative to industrially-produced meat, Niman Ranch has carved out an important niche in a market where demand for antibiotic-free and humanely produced foods are steadily on the rise.

And while much of the public’s response has centered around how this change will affect consumers’ choices, the sale raises another equally important question: What will it mean for farmers? Read more on Civil Eats.

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AuthorTwilight Greenaway

On a recent weekday afternoon, Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz gave a tour of the construction site that will become their new restaurant, The Perennial. We stepped into the cavernous room on the first floor of a giant new apartment building in San Francisco’s rapidly gentrifying Civic Center district, and together we imagined what the finished restaurant will look like. While the couple described the way the space will take shape, they were also hinting at something larger: their vision for a new type of restaurant. Read more on Take Part.

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AuthorTwilight Greenaway

Do you ever wonder why so much organic food also carries animal welfare labels?

The short answer is that while the US Department of Agriculture's organic standards are very precise about pesticides and other growing practices for the crops that people and animals eat, it doesn't include very many specific instructions about the way the animals themselves are raised.

"When people pick up organic milk, they're expecting that the cows are out on pasture most of the time," says Luke Meerman, one of the farmers behind Michigan-based Grassfields Cheese. And he's right. In a phone survey conducted for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 68 percent of the consumers contacted said they expected that animals raised on organic farms "have access to outdoor pasture and fresh air throughout the day." Similarly, 67 percent said they believe "animals have significantly more space to move than on non-organic farms." Read more on Mother Jones.

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AuthorTwilight Greenaway

In recent years, there has been a local meat renaissance going on in Wisconsin. At the center of the movement was a business called Black Earth Meats. The operation, owned by Bartlett Durand, or the Zen Butcher, included a retail space, a buyers club and a community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription service, as well as a U.S. Department of Agriculture-inspected slaughterhouse.

Black Earth Meats served as an important support for nearly 200 farmers, most of whom raised animals in small numbers on pasture, free of antibiotics and hormones. After moving into a local slaughterhouse in the 1,500-person town of Black Earth seven years ago, the company grew considerably, allowing the “good meat” economy in the area to scale up alongside it. “We took the plant from 70 beef a week to 140-150 a week, supplying the local food scene,” says Durand.

Read more.

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AuthorTwilight Greenaway