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It goes without saying that an organic fruit and veg farm and shop will attract people passionate about their own health and concerned about the welfare of the planet. If there’s one thing we know for certain it is that no one ideology, food regime, protocol, diet or ‘ism’ works for everyone. What is consistent though, is that our customers are all conscious consumers focused on improvement.

Many of customers are vegans and vegetarians, but there are also those who value good quality, sustainably produced meat. We have a great relationship with our friends at Shiralee Organic Meats. Amongst the meat eaters, are those who value grass-fed beef the most. This post is aimed at providing some food for thought on the potential benefits of one particular approach to raising grass fed cattle.

Michigan State University scientists conducted a comparative study, resulting in the publication of an interesting scientific paper in May 2018. It is based on 7 years’ worth of experience and observation in one specific land area and under a particular set of conditions. While more research needs to be done on the subject, the results if validated (and it seems likely), could challenge the popular perception amongst environmentally conscious groups and individuals that eating meat is bad for the environment. An interview with two of the authors of the paper, Paige Stanley and Jason Rowntree, is available via the podcast “Sustainable Dish” episode 97.”

Two important points to consider from this interview are:

  • Adaptive multi-paddock grazing seems to generate humus, which is a carbon stable material that can accumulate in grasslands and therefore sequester carbon from the atmosphere. The author’s experience throws big numbers on what this grazing system can do for carbon sequestration.
  • The methane produced by cows raised on healthy soil and managed through adaptive multi-paddock grazing seems to be quickly decomposed (oxidised by mathanotropic bacteria).

These points, combined with 1. the idea of grazing cows on marginal land (land not suitable for cropping), 2. beef as a nutritious and high protein-based food and, 3. the fact that you can raise a larger number of happier cows through this adaptive multi-paddock grazing methodology, raise a question mark about the notion that beef is not a sustainable food.

The fresh meat at Warrah Farm Shop comes to us weekly from Shiralee Organic Meats. This premium Australian Certified Organic butcher specialises in the finest certified organic, biodynamic and free range meats from Australia’s best and most awarded producers. Shiralee provides 100% traceability and are proudly chemical free. Some of the growers that Shiralee sources from are already using this multi paddock approach.

The paper referred to above, entitled “Impacts of soil carbon sequestration on life cycle greenhouse gas emissions in Midwestern USA beef finishing systems” can be found here.

The associated podcast is published here.