Small, sustainable, regenerative farms can do everything right to raise their animals and care for their land. But they’re stuck in a broken system when it comes to processing their meat for consumers.
Many of us don’t like to think about what happens to an animal after it leaves a farm and before it winds up on our plates. But this middle step is a huge challenge for small, regenerative producers across the country.
I experienced this “missing middle” infrastructure first-hand when I tried to process half a dozen of my own pigs.
So I was eager to chat with Cliff Pollard, the CEO and founder of Cream Co. Meats. His company distributes, markets, and directly invests in over 20 small producers and sustainable, regenerative, family-owned farms.
We discuss what it takes to even the playing field between mainstream and farm-direct distribution, how getting meat from pastures to the consumer has changed over time, and how Cliff’s team is working to fix this critical link in the food supply chain.
You’ll also hear about Cream Co.’s exciting Beef-to-Institution program that’s bringing grass-fed and finished meat from regenerative farms to 30 public schools in California.
We also dive into:
- How many steps it takes to go from farm to fork
- What happens when animals go from the pasture to commodity processing
- The difficulties small/medium farmers and ranchers face getting to market
- The “spectrum of sustainability” when comparing sustainable vs. regenerative producers
- Mobile meat processing units
- Whether small farms should invest in an online store with direct-to-consumer shipping
- How you can support small, local regenerative farms
Mentioned in This Episode
- Cliff Pollard’s Cream Co. Meats website
- The Natural State Podcast Episode 171: Natalie Kovarik & Tara Vander Dussen – Using Regenerative Ag Practices in Different Regions, The Future of Regenerative Ag, Addressing Climate Change, and More
- The Natural State Podcast Episode 170: Charley Cummings – Fixing a Local Food System by Connecting Farmers with Consumers
- The Natural State Podcast Episode 109: Anya Fernald – Why Regenerative Farming is the Future of Meat