So you may have heard about a little company named Beyond Organic which is poised to make some big moves in bringing grass-fed beef and dairy, along with a number of other probiotic products, into some potentially huge new markets of American consumers.
The Beyond Organic beef and dairy is being produced on an 8000(or something)-acre ranch in southeastern Missouri.
And the guy who owns and runs the farm in Pennsylvania where we buy all our meat and dairy, Trent Hendricks of Hendricks Farms and Dairy, is the guy that Jordan Rubin (known for his book, The Maker’s Diet, and his very successful line of supplements, Garden of Life) hired to manage the set up for the operations on the Beyond Organic ranch.
You may also notice that although I have many affiliate links on my site, Beyond Organic is not one of them; many other bloggers are participating in this enterprise as affiliates — this post is in no judgment of them. Just like they do, I am sure, I take my affiliate links very seriously, and I honestly believe in and regularly use the products that I advertise.
I declined the opportunity to become a “Mission Marketer” for Beyond Organic for several reasons. Firstly, I am ethically uncomfortable with their multi-level marketing program. (I am not judging anyone who is ethically fine with this, I just can’t myself be a part of it.)
But more importantly, I have no reason to want to buy the Beyond Organic products. Because I already get equally high quality products locally – and even from the same farmer who is coordinating the Beyond Organic production. I see no need to have something shipped from Missouri when I can get it fresh off the truck from the butcher here on a weekly basis. Even though driving an hour each way to and from the farm is not always convenient, having the interaction with the people who work on and run the place where I get my food is very important to me. I truly value the human connections that I have developed on my path to real food healing.
Finding a local farmer whom you can trust can take a lot of leg work. It involves researching on websites like eatwild.com, realmilk.com, and localharvest.org. It requires asking a lot of questions, and being confident enough to walk away if you aren’t happy with the answers, or uncomfortable with the sense of honesty or dishonesty that you get from the person giving those answers. It means making phone calls to people working on farms – people who don’t have a lot of time to talk on the phone, because they’re busy running a farm! It takes visiting farms, sometimes a good drive’s distance from one’s home, to really confirm the quality of the operation that you will be committing your livelihood to – observing how the facility is run, seeing the animals in their regular environment. Do they look happy and healthy? Do they run around? It’s quite an astonishing sight to see a fully-grown dairy cow ebulliently galloping out to pasture with her calf when you’re not used to seeing what healthy dairy cows looks like!
Developing a relationship with a farm really is committing your livelihood into the hands of other people, and it is vitally important that you find those people to be worthy of your full trust. It is counting on them to produce your food in the best way possible, with the highest standards and deep commitment to learning from the land and animals, and stewarding their optimal development. Because our health depends upon the health of those animals that they raise, and we eat.
This is the kind of commitment that we have made to Hendricks Farms, and to Trent. After years of using the products of his farm to heal my body, I literally trust my life – my health and well-being – to the capable hands of his organization, his family, and his staff.
If Beyond Organic can bring the quality of products which Trent is capable of creating to a larger body of consumers than currently demands grass-fed meat and dairy in this country (and at present they’ve purportedly got 50,000+ people on board, which is HUGE), I say, more power to them, and may they be bountifully blessed in this endeavor. This company might be able to create a momentous upsurge in the real foods movement, and that is very exciting for me, as someone who is passionate and borderline evangelical about real foods, nutrition, and natural methods of healing.
I deeply hope that the healing power of these foods transforms the lives of their customers. I also hope that it prompts these customers to learn more about the real foods movement as a whole, and the many diverse options available – many of them local, down the street or down the highway from their homes – to sourcing equally high-quality products that are accessible even to persons of modest economic means.
The real foods movement starts literally at the grass roots – the grasses and weeds and diverse grasslands ecosystems that feed healthy cattle – and cultivating relationships with the people who produce the food you eat is at the core of grass-roots-based, healthy eating. It is one thing to get healthy food delivered to your doorstep – and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this! It is entirely necessary for some people, and the only way they might have access to this level of quality in their food. When you are completely debilitated from illness, making a trek to a farm, even if just once or twice a year to stock freezers, can be an insurmountable task.
But for those who are able, it takes a further step of commitment and trust to step out of that door and onto the land of a farm where healthy food comes from – and the rewards of putting forth that commitment and trust are substantial, on interpersonal and economic levels, but on a spiritual level as well. For as we gather together to make healthy food happen in our communities, we honor each other and that food in ways that far exceed the isolated transactions of internet commerce. We provide honest, worthwhile jobs to our neighbors, we give them tangible and sustained motivation as they regularly see the results of their hard work in the wide smiles and good health of our flourishing children, and we build community connections that will sustain us in times to come.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25
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