Our Ranch is a food and nutrition educational outreach center. I often jokingly quip with the family that a by-product of our farming enterprise is that we sometimes sell food.
People are desperate - desperate to know where food is coming from, how it is grown and if it can hurt them.
They live with a daily fear of the food system.
When will I get food poisoning again? How was this Chicken butchered? Does this hamburger come from a Cow that contracted BSE in a feedlot (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, A.K.A. Mad Cow Disease) What is the e-coli risk of this beef? Does this egg have salmonella?
SonRise Ranch Chickens scratching for bugs - an important and essential part of their diet
What kind of education can you get from someone who moves Pigs around a pasture all day long?In the early 20th century ninety percent or more of the U.S. population was involved in Agriculture to some degree or another. Today, Farmers don’t even rate being counted on in the US census. In fact, the current population of incarcerated persons in the United States dwarfs the number of Farmers by two-to-one.
People, for the most part, due to no fault of their own, are agriculturally illiterate. They have no idea how food is grown, how animals live, what they should or should not eat – this comprises the bulk of our conversations with our constituency.
Conservatively, I have over 100 conversations per week regarding food, food production and sustainable agriculture.
And we are by no means, a big attraction. On the contrary, we are a small farm.
I meet and talk with folks at the Farmers Markets, at Weston A. Price dinners and conferences, at social events, via email and phone calls – literally hundreds of concerned mothers, steak loving fathers, and environmental activists each week contact the Ranch seeking knowledge and information.
The level of interest in farming is staggering.
Lest you think we’ve won the war for clean food – think again. This blitz of imaginative, independent thinkers and knowledge seekers, who by their own grit and determination are stalwart in their quest for real food, represents a mere 1.7 percent of the population, and that is a generous estimate. The clean food movement is in its infancy to be sure.
Among those conversations are some very valid questions – What do your chickens eat? How much does a tri-tip roast cost? How many pigs can go into a pasture rotation?
Most are sincere, some are antagonistic.
But, all are important. We answer every email, every inquiry, and every phone call. Our people mean the world to us. Without them, the whole thing would be pointless.
Here is an example of a common inquiry we receive…
My first question would be; “What do you propose we feed them?
Air? Snowflakes? Clouds?
Theirs is a valid question, don’t get me wrong, in fact we invite people to ask these questions. But seriously folks, what, pray tell do you propose these wonderful creations eat while being raised on our farm?
I need to feed them something!
The impetus for this disconnect is a lack of understanding between what the Doctor is prescribing, and what the chicken is metabolizing. The customer, in this case, is severely allergic to the aforementioned foods and desires the chicken they are consuming to have the same dietary restrictions they do. This is completely unnecessary and dysfunctional.
What a chicken eats, and how it affects the human who eats the chicken, fall into one of two categories.
- Products grown or found in nature - Examples include seeds, corn, lentils, beans, peas, wheat, and other grains as well as bugs, plants, grass, legumes, forbs etc.
- Products made by man. – GMO corn, GMO lentils, GMO beans, etc. Pesticides, Herbicides, Synthetic Hormones, De-worming agents, and the like.
Trust me – they’ve been doing it for years.
Birds (Chickens) eat seeds in nature. This is why they exist symbiotically with Herbivores. They can eat a handful of seeds and a few will pass right though, undigested then get deposited on the soil after a short flight. Nature relies on birds to spread the seeds just as it relies on bees to pollinate. If we were to travel to the Caribbean a few thousand years ago, to find an un-domesticated chicken, in its natural habitat, it would surely be eating grains – gluten and all!
When a chicken eats, the gluten (a form of protein) will digest down into amino acids; starches will break down into simple sugars, and fats will be converted into fatty acids and glycerol. This is all perfectly normal. These basic elements are what make a chicken, a chicken. They comprise its whole structure, its feathers, legs and feet. The sacrifice of the wheat grain, in this case, created the life of a chicken. It’s the whole circle of life.
In the second category, products made by man, the story is entirely different. Transgenic modified foods (GMOs) are un-natural at best and diabolical at worst. They can be metabolized, but at a considerable cost. The unpronounceable compounds, assembled by someone in a laboratory with a post-secondary education and a well worn pocket protector are not natural!
Man made products can, and will transfer directly though the chicken and into you. If you are allergic to glyphosate, for example (the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Round Up) you will be given a hefty dose when you eat a chicken that has spent its whole life eating feeds treated with Round up.
Glyphosate will bioaccumulate(1) in the tissue of the chicken and enter you directly. Your body will no more know what to do with glyphosate, than did the chicken – so it will insulate it, catalog it and wait for further instructions. "This is a toxic invader, we better surround it with fat cells and make sure it can’t travel anywhere in the body" the immune system cries.
Not so with heritage, natural, non-GMO wheat. The chicken’s great, great-grandmother ate the same wheat, gluten and all that the grand- chicken is eating today, it hasn’t changed in a millennium.
The chicken, like you and I, have a three-trillion member, internal, bacterial team alive and well inside it’s craw (they don’t have stomachs, like we do – but it’s the same concept). This guest society is well adapted, over thousands of generations and stands ready and waiting with all the right enzymes to break down and digest some wheat to convert it into energy.
Do you get the point here?
Our customer, in this case, was not really allergic to gluten, wheat or corn. They are allergic to the chemicals and transgenic modified versions of gluten, wheat and corn. Ancient, natural gluten, wheat and corn are nourishing, and have been for thousands of years – Jesus used it to feed 5000 hungry listeners and not one complained of an allergy!
Just because modern grains are sprayed with chemicals and have modified DNA, does not mean that ancient natural grains are bad! This requires putting your thinking cap on.
Throwing out all grains, because some have been sprayed with Round up, would be akin to outlawing cars because some are operated by careless drivers that cause ten-car pile ups on the freeway.
Would it not be wiser to simply arrest the offenders and revoke their driving privileges?
This is one of the reason we feed Non-GMO feeds to our Pork and Poultry (not Cows) – we don’t want the trace elements of glyophosate to enter the bloodstreams and muscle tissue of our animals.
Our method of feeding is called Bio-mimicry. Bio-mimicry is a fancy term that simply means “to impersonate nature”.
Let’s take corn for example. In nature, without human intervention, chickens would not eat GMO corn.
The Organic designation on our feed guarantees they are non-GMO and thus not poisoned with Round up. And while we are on this topic, a chicken diet restricted to vegetarian feed only, as is the craze right now, would be just as destructive as one doused with Round up. Chickens, like all birds, eat bugs. A chicken deprived of bugs would be a very unhealthy, unnatural chicken.
If a Farmer eliminates 99% of all feeds available, due to the unfounded fear that if humans are allergic to certain feeds, then so are chickens. Or worse, that chickens somehow transfer allergies to humans when consumed, will have a serious problem – his chickens will starve.
In days gone by, all, or nearly all Americans knew this stuff.
Of course, they didn’t have the allergies we have today. The credit for the absence of allergies went, first to the hearty immune system of past generations. Simply put, it was more robust than ours today. Those folks played with other snot-nosed kids in the park as children, ate more dirt wiping out on their bicycles or falling off tire swings, and did not have the so-called benefit of anti-bacterial soap.
Secondly, their immune system was not constantly assaulted with foreign substances, chemicals and transgenic modified organisms. They, unlike us, were not raised on sterile food, devoid of helpful bacteria.
They were healthier.
We are sickly.
And it’s all a result of what we eat.
Notes: (1) Bioaccumulation is the tendency of a consumed substance to become concentrated inside the bodies of living things. The lying scientists and their government cronies at the UDSA and FDA will insist that glyphosate does not bioaccumulate. Is that why, since the introduction of chemical farming in America, we have the dubious honor (or dishonor) of leading the world in obesity and chronic disease? Think for yourself! What makes logical sense?