the nature strip


Where our food comes from: cattle farm
July 9, 2013, 12:25 pm
Filed under: Food, General thoughts

As a conscious consumer, I want to learn more about where our food comes from. So recently I spent a few wintery days on a cattle farm – it was part holiday and part research project.

cattle farm

To make ethical and sustainable choices, we need to know where our food comes from and how it is produced. We should support farmers who are doing it right, for the sake of ourselves and the planet.

The cattle farm we ventured to is set in the Kangaroo Valley, a plenitude of lush rolling hills and a blanket of earthiness. We stayed in a cottage surrounded by acres of grazing land for Angus Beef. It felt hypocritical being a vegetarian but I don’t want to cloud myself in ignorance.

cattle farm

It was calving season when we were there – the cows above were getting assessed for their delivery date. A mother had given birth to twins. One of the twins was being rejected. I wanted to dash in to the yard, curl up the calf in my arms, let it sleep in my bed, tell it that the world isn’t always such a horrible place. But the calf didn’t want me – it wanted its mother.

The next day the calf was dead. That’s the way nature is.

I thought I was a ‘toughy’ – I was trying to be pragmatic by telling myself that it is just the circle of life. All creatures live and die. And it’s true, they do. But this calf had such an awful experience for its short life; it was unloved, it was hungry, it was cold. Some tears did spill.

cattle farm

Despite this sad incident, the cattle on the farm, from what I could tell, were well cared for. They were grass fed and the calves got to stay with their mother. Who knows what happens at the abattoir though.

Cattle farm

The farmers, both female and I would guess in their 60s, were committed, passionate, and hard working. Most of the meat goes to Asian buyers, primarily Japan and South Korea. Holland too. Australia gets the scraps.

pines pastoral

Being on a small scale farm feels like you are alive 100 years ago. There is no bullsh*t, no factory farming – it’s just you, and the land, and the seasons, and fresh air. And you feel better for it.

fire wood

farm

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You can find out more at The Pines Pastoral.

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