Pasture raised - what does it mean?

A Pasture-Raised Paddock at Forage Farms

Consumers can be forgiven for being confused by the plethora of terms used to describe the food they purchase these days. Pasture-raised is gaining traction as a desirable model of food production, largely because it allows for animals to live a more natural, less stressed lifestyle in a constantly rotating environment. This provides them with access to better nutrients. All of our animals are raised in this way. It goes hand in hand with regenerative farming and our commitment to be constantly improving the land on which our animals live and graze - the result - better quality food on your plate.

PROOF (Pasture Raised On Open Fields) is an Australian certification programme for free-range, pastured eggs, pork, chicken, beef, and lamb from animals that have been raised on pasture in open fields.

To qualify for the PROOF stamp of approval, all livestock must be raised outdoors with continuous and unrestricted daytime access to paddocks that are suitable for grazing and are provided with shade and shelter. All animals must use the paddocks each day unless; they choose to shelter because of inclement weather, short-term confinement for veterinary treatment, or when giving birth. Feed supplements must be made available to ensure all their nutritional needs are met. Animals are kept at a stocking intensity that will ensure forage is always available in an actively managed rotational grazing system.

Pasture-raised farms strive to improve the land that they farm to leave it in a better state than they found it, whilst producing food that is better for the animals and more nutritious for you. Animals raised in this environment will never be left to graze in a bare paddock. The Forage Farms chooks are moved twice a week, and the sheep and cattle every two to three days. Our pigs are moved at a minimum, once a fortnight.

Pigs and chickens have a lot in common as they are both omnivores and their ancestors were originally forest dwellers. The pasture-raised model has been implemented with this simple concept in mind. Pigs and chooks raised on pasture do eat a lot of grass, but they also get a lot of their nutritional needs from the soil and the feed we supply them. Pastured farming means living in open paddocks with plenty of room, no feedlots, no overcrowding, and no indoor confinement.

If you buy pasture-raised food, you can be confident that it comes from animals that have been living as they would have originally. They have constant access to a variety of plants, shrubs, fresh bugs – whatever they can find. The animals know what they want and need for optimum health and they will find it if they can access it. This is an ancient model of food production. It wasn’t until the 1950s that intensive, housed food production became commonplace.

To be sure of the provenance of your food and how it was produced, the best thing you can do is get to know your farmer. Take a farm tour if you can. If this isn’t possible always look for food that has the PROOF badge of approval.

Check out our animals here 

And get some pasture-raised meat delivered to your door here

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