At that conference, three people including John Meadley from Transition Stroud, decided to set up a Google group to promote the concept of ruminant livestock raised wholly on pasture – which is their natural diet and which covers more than 60% of UK farmland – rather than on grain. This has many benefits to the animals, to the environment and to humans. See an earlier blog of mine on Graham Harvey's book, The Carbon Fields, here.
Since then the project has grown – more farmers joining, a logo/trade mark approved, farming standards designed and the Pasture-fed Livestock Association established as a CIC. The National Trust is now a member.
At this early stage some trials are being carried out to test how the system works – from farmer to butcher to consumer – and to get some feedback from consumers. A bar code system is being developed that will trace the meat back to the individual animal and farm. The first trial started on Saturday together with some tastings, at Tony’s Butchers in Kendrick Street. Tony has been involved with the development of the association since the beginning and it was thought it appropriate to hold the first trials in his shop.
You can learn more at the new website: www.pasturefed.org
Also see here the Transition Farms day which the Royal Agricultural College put on last month and saw a couple of Transition Stroudies attend. The overheads and video have just been made available, and are likely to be of interest to TS and like people.
Here is more about the project: "For those of you who are not meat eaters, there are also benefits for the environment – a significant reduction in fossil fuels (clovers replacing artificial fertilisers, no [fossil-fuel intensive] grain fed), no soybean used and pasture is at least as effective as the tropical rainforest in absorbing CO2 into its roots. Until recently very few farmers were raising cattle wholly on pasture, and those who did so sold their produce through farm shops and farmers’ market. One of these pioneers is Whitfield Organic Farm, which has a stall in the Farmers Market in Stroud with some tasty meat on sale. Through the association we are hoping to encourage many more farmers to manage their land this way, to raise the profile through PASTORAL and to involve many more butchers and caterers so that pasture-fed meat (and in due course milk) will be widely available in local butchers and family-owned shops."