Pasture Brothers: An Origin Story
About a year ago, Norm and I were hanging out having a conversation when the topic of farming came up. We didn't know much about it, but it was something we both were interested in.
Turns out, he knew more than I did, and he was particularly interested in something called pastured poultry.
He described to me in detail how you can build a portable, open-floored chicken coop and move it every day to spread the manure - a sustainable model that's good for the chickens and good for the environment.
To be honest, I didn't know what he was talking about. It was such a foreign concept that I had a hard time visualizing it. But I was intrigued. I went home that night and started looking into it myself.
It took just one YouTube video for the lightbulb to go off.
I finally got it and I thought, wow this is really something!
Maybe a week or so later we were hanging out again and I said, "You know that chicken idea, is that still something you're interested in?"
Of course the answer was "Yes," and here we are now with about a year's worth of experience under our belts raising chickens. Pasture-raising chickens that is. Because there is, of course, a huge difference.
When we tell people we're chicken farmers we have to be clear about our production model. Otherwise the imagery conjured up is one of smelly, crowded grow houses as opposed to lush green pastures.
But that's the fun part too. Because every time we get to explain to someone what pastured poultry is all about, it's kind of like reliving that conversation that Norman and I had a year ago that started this whole venture in the first place.
I had no idea there was a way to raise chickens in a way that regenerated the soil.
I had no idea about the growing network of passionate practitioners of this methodology who worked to raise birds and other animals in such a way. People who had opted out of the conventional food system in favor of traditional farming practices that reconnect communities with their food. Not to mention better connect them with their own land.
And if that one conversation between Norman and I could spark all the action and knowledge that's gotten us to where we are today as Pasture Brothers then who knows what kind of effect our explanation of pastured poultry can have on anyone new that we meet.
Our hope is that a lot more good will come of it and that more people become interested in this "alternative" food movement that has so much potential to correct problems that we see in the food system today. Problems like pollution, animal cruelty, and a total disconnection between farms and people. These are major issues, and anyone who doesn't see that, well, we just feel sorry for.
Pastured poultry is a pretty simple idea. But the implications of it growing in practice could mean a monumental shift in the lives of many.
We know it's changed us. And we're grateful that it did.