Post on holiday turkeys and working with Gunthorp Farms.
This is our 17th year of sustainable farming,wow! (Sometimes I don’t at all feel like I’m 50, other days…)
My friend Greg Gunthorp has been farming much longer. (He has a schedule that make me feel exhausted, and I pride myself on being indefatigable.) He’s a pioneer in marketing pasture raised meats from his farm to top chefs throughout Chicago (most notable are the Rick Bayless restaurants) and beyond. I knew of Greg long before we met.
I can’t pin down exactly when we first met. The sustainable food world is pretty small and conferences, trade shows, and sustainabilty events are filled with familiar names and faces.
I really got to know Greg when we worked with Richard Wood of the Food Animals Concerns Trust (Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT) to get their Fund A Farmer project off the ground. We served as farmer advisors and grant reviewers for several year. Greg rolled off the review committee a few years ago and 2019 was my last year of reviews (I will review grants for the USDA this winter.); but over the past ten years we’ve helped award a couple hundred thousand dollars to 150+ farmers at about $2,000 at a time. Sometimes I feel like we’re not making a dent in helping with the climate crisis on our tiny farm, but knowing that I’ve helped a bunch of other farms grow and improve their practices makes me feel like we’re having some effect.
Getting money to good farmers is great, but influencing and educating is even better. Greg is a member of the Organization for Competitive Markets, the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association, on the board of the American Grassfed Association, and active in the Niche Meat Processor Assistance Network. Greg is a tireless advocate for sustainable agriculture and for understanding for our conventional farming friends and neighbors. Our neighbors are even more at the mercy of bad ag policies than niche farmers like us. Too often, the mouthpieces for industrial agriculture and sometimes USDA attack or mock farmers who don’t follow the party line. I admire Greg for calling out bullshit when he sees it.
I’ve, also, crossed paths with Greg in my work with Slow Food USA and Slow Food Chicago. We’ve been on panels together at the Slow Meat conference in Denver. Last spring, I rode with Greg to Storm Lake, Iowa to bring grass farmers’ perspectives to aspiring Demcratic presidential candidates.
So, when you order a Gunthorp Farms turkey from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm CSA you’re doing a lot more than supporting a couple of sustainable farms.
If you’ve read this far, I think you should order a turkey! Here’s the link: http://cedarvalleysustainable.com/