At Maleny Black Angus Beef, we think about these sorts of things all the time because it’s at the heart of our farming operation. Unfortunately the challenge is getting this message to people who haven’t thought about it before, or aren’t that concerned, and who continue to buy their meat (and other food) from supermarkets.
When we talk about sustainable farming, to us its simple. There are no hormones, no antibiotics or unnatural ingredients used in our farming practices. That’s quite a few ‘no’s’.
We don’t farm like this because we’re trying to be ‘Green’ or because we’re hillbillies (though some might call us alternate and we wouldn’t be offended. We’re definitely happy being a bit ‘different’).
We simply believe this approach is best for our land and our cattle, and by default the environment and our customers benefit. It’s so simple.
It’s sad to think that all farms were like this once, but now food production has moved to a mass-scale, cell-grazing and grass-feeding have become ‘boutique’ concepts.
We rotate our cattle among our paddocks to allow our grass to regenerate and the pasture to thrive according to natural variables such as rainfall and seasons. And we’re very careful to never over-stock our paddocks to preserve our precious grass and water. We even share the grass with deer, rabbit and kangaroo populations that graze freely in the area.
In this way, we’re able to raise our herd the way nature intended and produce the most nutritious, delicious meat that hasn’t damaged the land, water or surrounds in the process.
We’re also mindful to minimise our packaging which is why our meat is delivered in simple, meal-sized cryovacked packages inside large recycled cardboard boxes so you don’t need to repackage them for freezing. And we use all the cuts from each beast so less waste goes to landfill.
We go one step further when we think about ‘sustainable’ which leads us to the economics of it all. It needs to be ‘economical’ too. If it wasn’t cost-effective for us to produce our meat this way, or affordable for customers to buy, we wouldn’t have a business. That’s the opposite of ‘sustainable’. We’d call that ‘unsustainable’.
In our minds, everything we believe about being ‘Sustainable’ also needs to combine with ‘Local’ otherwise some of the benefits are cancelled out through transportation, which involves burning fossil fuel to get the meat to your plate. The shorter the distance food needs to travel to get to you, the less infrastructure required to transport it, the lower the costs, the fresher the produce, the better all round.
Local distribution achieves the final objective of our sustainable approach. We supply local restaurants and artisans who also sell locally. But most important, we supply local households and families like you to keep our ‘food miles’ low.
This was a long explanation for a simple concept.
At the end of the day, we’re sharing all of this in the hope that you’ll take our words and use them to help spread the message. Start conversations. Point it out to your kids. Visit Farmer’s Markets. Search for ‘local’ when you’re shopping online or out and about.
Encourage everyone to choose locally-produced food when they can, so farmers like us, can keep producing healthier meat, veggies, fruit and other products which are all better for the environment, your health and the economy. We’ll all benefit if you do.