Support Family and Local Farms

The Meatrix

When most folks hear the word "farm" the first images that pop into their heads is a big red barn flanked by rolling green hills covered with peacefully grazing cows and sheep, chickens scratching happily in the yard, ducks and geese swimming in the pond, and pigs wallowing in their cool mud holes.

The brutal reality is that although these scenes do exist, they are rapidly disappearing under the pressure of agri-business. Almost all of the meat, eggs and dairy sold in groceries and supermarkets now come from a small handful of huge corporations... factory farms where animals are overcrowded, stressed, abused, and pumped full of antibiotics just to keep them alive until their trip to the slaughterhouse. Antibiotics and growth hormones fed to these animals contribute to the rise of potentially dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria in both livestock and their human consumers.

Click on the graphic to the left to view The Meatrix, a great animated story of how things really are for commercially raised livestock.


Also, check out The Meatrix 2: Revolting, to see the reality of commercial dairy farms. Got milk? Make sure you know where it's coming from first!

The same goes for supermarket fruit and vegetables. Most are not the beautiful and flavorful foods we remember from our youth. For the sake of profit, they have been irradiated and engineered to the point where blueberries are now the size of cherry tomatoes, but have the flavor of a bag of water. Some have been imported, sitting in trucks and on docks for so long, that they are already starting to go bad by the time they hit the shelves.

The reason I put this page together is because we at Othala Acres are sick to death of the cruelty of factory farms and the destruction of small family farms that it has caused, as well as sick of buying meat, eggs and produce that is all quantity and no quality. We are also bombarded with news of Mad Cow, Swine Flu, Bird Flu, e-coli and salmonella.... these are almost always the result of bad husbandry practices in intesive farming operations. Unsanitary conditions, feeding meat by-products and even old feces filled bedding (yes they sometimes do that!) to herbiverous livestock, and ill-trained and uncaring workers all contribute. I've searched online for information and organizations to support, but most of the ones I found were your run of the mill "anti-meat, anti-farm" AR radicals. Some of the better known organizations have brought to light the cruelties of factory farms, but their radical and many times ignorant "all or nothing" approach overshadows any good and all attempts to change things for the better are waved away as "liberal tree-hugging stupidity."


Food, Inc. is a film that every American should see. Everyone should know where their food comes from and the truth about the food industry. This film will make you think, make you angry, and make you change the way you look at and buy food. Become educated about your food in order to make informed decisions for yourself and your family.


Nina Planck's book reveals what many of us already know, REAL food is better! She explains how foods raised the way the way they were intended, rather than in today's factory farms and sprawling mono-crops, are much healthier. She also explains the "fat is bad" myth, and encourages folks to add more fish and farmers' market foods to their diet, and ditch the processed junk. This book is well worth the read.


Jamie Oliver's recipes are excellent, and focus on whole and real foods. Cook real, home meals just like the good old days (when people didn't have to deal with things like growth hormones, high fructose corn syrup and fast food on every corner!). Home cooked food is more delicious, healthier and saves money, too!

Jamie is doing an amazing job with getting processed and junk food off the school lunch menus, and replacing it with fresh, healthy and whole foods.

Below are links to the organizations, groups, and sources that work to educate about the realities of factory farming, support small family farms, and realize that most of us believe it's OK to eat meat, but not OK to abuse animals to get it!

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/) - ...at the National Agricultural Library (NAL). We specialize in identifying and accessing information related to alternative agricultural enterprises and crops as well as alternative cropping systems. Information on organic products, resources for SARE grant applications, and information/resources for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).

Certified Humane Raised & Handled (http://www.certifiedhumane.com) - Humane Farm Animal care is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of farm animals by providing viable, credible, duly monitored standards for humane food production and ensuring consumers that certified products meet these standards.

Farm Aid (http://www.farmaid.org) - The mission of Farm Aid is to keep family farmers on their land. Family farmers are our only guarantee for fresh, local food. Our goal is to bring together family farmers and citizens to restore family farm-centered agriculture. Family farmers ensure safe, healthful food, protect natural resources, and strengthen local economies.

FoodRoutes (http://www.foodroutes.org) - The FoodRoutes Web site is a project of FoodRoutes Network (FRN). FRN is a national nonprofit organization that provides communications tools, technical support, networking and information resources to organizations nationwide that are working to rebuild local, community-based food systems.

Free Farmed Program (http://www.freefarmed.org) - There have been many changes in animal agriculture over the last few years. One aspect that has remained constant is American Humane’s commitment to the well-being of farm animals. To this goal, American Humane created the Free Farmed program in which producers are certified that the farm animals are raised humanely.

Grace Factory Farm Project (http://www.factoryfarm.org) - ...works to create a sustainable food production system that is healthful and humane, economically viable, and environmentally sound. When invited by regional or grassroots groups, the GFFP helps rural communities, family ranchers and farmers around the country oppose the spread of new factory farms, and close down existing operations that adversely affect the health and well-being of communities

Heifer International (http://www.heifer.org) - Heifer International works to pass on livestock, knowledge, and skills with communities all over the world to help end hunger and poverty through sustainable agriculture.

The Humane Farming Association (http://www.hfa.org) - HFA's goals are to protect farm animals from cruelty, to protect the public from the dangerous misuse of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used on factory farms, and to protect the environment from the impacts of industrialized animal factories.

National Animal Interest Alliance (http://www.naiaonline.org) - An association of business, agricultural, scientific, and recreational interests dedicated to promoting animal welfare, supporting responsible animal use and strengthening the bond between humans and animals.

The New Farm (http://www.newfarm.org) - The Rodale Institute®’s web site reaches a global community of food producers to exchange valuable “farmer-to-farmer know-how.” Its mission is to inform, encourage, equip and inspire farmers with the support they need to take the important transition steps toward regenerative agriculture.

Organic Consumers Association (http://www.organicconsumers.org) - A grassroots non-profit public interest organization which deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, corporate accountability, and environmental sustainability.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (http://www.sare.org) - The program, part of USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, funds projects and conducts outreach designed to improve agricultural systems.

The following websites are resources to finding local and/or naturally farmed meat and produce:

Alternative Farming Database (http://www.awionline.org/farm/altfrm.htm) - This database provides published and online information for farmers, consumers, students, and educators who are concerned about factory farming and are seeking for humane alternatives.

Eat Wild (http://www.eatwild.com) - Your source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goats, bison, poultry and dairy products.

Heritage Foods USA (http://www.heritagefoodsusa.com) - Heritage foods are foods derived from rare breeds of American livestock and crops with strong genetic authenticity and well-defined production protocols. Heritage Foods USA brings hard to find heritage foods with superior taste directly to American homes for holidays and special occasions.

Lindauer Farms - Premium heritage steaks organically, family farmed, and naturally raised. Buy any steak pack and get $20 of premium tenderloin tips, FREE!

LocalHarvest (http://www.localharvest.org) - With the LocalHarvest map, you can find all the farmers' markets, family farms, locally-grown produce, grass-fed meats, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.

Niman Ranch

Niman Ranch offers humanely raised beef, pork and lamb by family farmers using traditional methods.

Slow Food USA (http://www.slowfoodusa.org) - An educational organization dedicated to promoting stewardship of the land and ecologically sound food production; reviving the kitchen and the table as the centers of pleasure, culture, and community; invigorating and proliferating regional, seasonal culinary traditions; creating a collaborative, ecologically-oriented, and virtuous globalization; and living a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.

Sustainable Table (http://www.sustainabletable.org) - Sustainable Table is an introduction to issues surrounding today’s agricultural system and what is happening with our food, in particular, the meat supply. Our goal is to help you understand the issues, offer suggestions on what you can do, direct you to more in-depth information, and introduce you to the exciting and hugely popular sustainable food movement exploding around the world.

Northern New England area sites:

Berkshire Grown (http://www.berkshiregrown.org) - To support our farms, Berkshire Grown promotes locally raised and produced food, flowers and plants in the Berkshire region of Massachusetts. This is done through a variety of programs that build partnerships between farmers, chefs and consumers. Berkshire Grown is a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.

Beginner Farmers of New Hampshire (http://www.beginnerfarmers.org) - Beginner Farmers of New Hampshire is a farmer to farmer network with the goals of connecting farmers and the community, sharing ideas and information, and accessing technical assistance and agricultural education. Our collaborative efforts help small and beginner farmers achieve their goals, strengthen their communities, boost the agricultural industry and economy, and improve quality of life in New Hampshire.

Coll's Farm (http://www.collsfarmllc.com/) - A farmstand & market located in Jaffrey, NH that sells fresh & local produce, organic, and their own bread and eggs. A great place to find all kinds of good, whole & local foods for a low price.

Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) (http://www.buylocalfood.com) - non-profit organization working to sustain agriculture in western Massachusetts, throughout the state and across the country.

New Hampshire Farmers' Market Association (http://www.nhfma.org) - The mission of the NHFMA is to educate the general public on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle acquired through locally grown agricultural products.

Valley Food and Farm (http://www.vitalcommunities.org/Agriculture/agriculture.htm) - Find fresh food and farm products from the Greater Upper Connecticut River Valley Region of New Hampshire and Vermont.

Northern New England Farmers' Markets (http://www.northernnewengland.com/farmersmarkets) - This great online resource is a great place to go if you want to find a farmers' market in Maine, New Hampshire or Vermont.

Speak Up! Here are some online forums and mailing lists where you can share information and resources with like minded folks who care about where their food comes from:

Homesteading Today (http://homesteadingtoday.com) - Online forum for discussing various homesteading topics from livestock & gardening to cooking & crafts.


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