Community Agriculture Alliance: Does local meat matter? Making the case for trying local meat
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
A trip to the grocery store can lead to an overwhelming number of choices and even more questions. What cuts of meat to buy, prime versus choice, pastured-raised or grass-fed, natural or organic? We won’t try to explain all of this, but ask another question. Have you considered local meat? Why does local meat matter? The following are a few reasons to consider.
Buying local meat is supporting your neighbors, people who live and work right here in the Yampa Valley. It’s supporting fellow community members who volunteer, donate, pay taxes and help make our community a better place. It’s making the choice to support our community first versus typical national or international food producers.
Agricultural heritage, legacy
Since the Yampa Valley was first settled in 1800s, ranchers and farmers have been working the land to provide food for their families and to sell. As the community has changed, and our food system has become global, we can stay connected to the land and our agricultural heritage. Our ranching and farming families have chosen to remain in here, continue in agriculture and live their core values.
Stewardship of land
Our local producers live here, on the same land where their animals are raised. They care about the land and use responsible and sustainable agricultural practices. They recognize the importance of environmental stewardship and use responsible agricultural practices to protect the environment for future generations.
Buying local meat makes a direct economic impact for local producers. Every dollar spent stays here and generates income for the local economy.
Local producers stand by their products, treat animals humanely and the best way possible. Being small scale allows them to care for individual animals, often bottle-feeding calves or lambs as needed. On smaller sustainable farms, animals graze on pasture, carry out natural behaviors and live without undue stress.
There is an ongoing misperception that local meat is expensive. The reality is most products are market priced and similar to retail grocery store prices. Think quality over quantity.
Last question, “Where and how do I find local meat?” If you know a local rancher, ask them if you can buy meat directly from them. The 4-H Junior Livestock Auction in August is great way to support local kids and eat local meat. And you can shop at caamarket.org and choose from 16 local producers offering a wide variety of beef, lamb, buffalo and pork for sale. Orders are picked up at CAA offices, 141 Ninth St., on Fridays. Or stop in to shop and learn more about why local food matters.
Michele Meyer is the executive director for Community Agriculture Alliance.
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