By Serenity Kids Co-Founder Joe Carr
Meat has gotten a bad rap in health food and environmental communities. That’s no surprise when you’ve seen images of the brutality and destruction caused by factory farms. When I first learned about this, I became a vegetarian and eventually a vegan. However, those diets never worked with my body, so I was stoked to learn that clean, well-sourced meats not only benefit my health, but can also heal the planet.
BABIES NEED MEAT
When Serenity and I started looking for healthy, organic, meat-based baby food to feed our future child, we were surprised not to find anything made with clean meats. The nutritional community is clear that meat is an ideal first food for babies, who need a daily minimum 30 grams of fat and 11 grams of protein. Breastmilk, after all, is animal fat and protein. Our pediatrician, Dr. Michelle Levitt, had this to say,
So we wanted to make it easier for parents to feed their babies meat, and we wanted our ethically sourced baby food to contain the highest possible quality meat.
PASTURE RAISED MEAT IS THE BEST
Studies of grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken and pork show that these meats contain overwhelmingly superior nutritional content than grain fed animals. It makes sense that if animals eat the diet nature intended for them, their meat will have the nutrition nature intended for us. A comprehensive report compiled by Compassion in World Farming determined,
"Choosing pasture-reared beef over intensely-raised beef would make a significant contribution to meeting nutritional requirements for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Pasture-reared beef contains more vitamin E...and also contains more beta-carotene...Pig meat from free-range systems has a higher proportion of omega 3 fatty acids, and a more favorable (lower) ratio of omega-6 to omega 3 fatty acids...contains more vitamin E...and also contains more iron."
Plus, have you tried a grass fed steak? Damn, that stuff is good. Finally something that actually tastes better because it’s healthier!
Here’s the best part. Not only do grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken and pork taste better and make us healthier, they can also make the planet healthier! Animals have always been a key part of the earth’s ecosystem, and separating them from their natural habitats has contributed to the devastating affects modern mega farms are having on the environment.
There are three types of farming. Degenerative Farming leaves the land worse than we found it. This describes factory farming systems, both animal and plant, that strip the land of nutrients, pollute the soil, and contaminate ground water. Sustainable Farming leaves the land as good as we found it. It "does no (more) harm." This includes many organic farms and other environmentally responsible operations. Regenerative Farming actually improves the land, leaving it better year after year. For vegetable farms this is sometimes called "bio-dynamic farming." The potential to heal the planet using this technique for animal agriculture is astounding!
In Alan Savory’s mind-blowing Ted Talk "How to Fight Desertification and Stop Climate Change," he outlines how the Savory Institute has converted millions of acres of African desert land into grass land. Their methods focus on the strategic grazing of ruminants, which are large grass-eating animals like cows and buffalo. The Savory Institute teaches farmers worldwide how to simulate the ecological role herds of ruminants played before human intervention.
How does it work? Here’s the rough science-y part put in the non-nerdiest terms possible. For healthy grassland cycles, ruminants eat the tops of the grasses, leaving behind urine and manure. Without ruminants, the grasses grow too tall, die from lack of nutrients, fall over, and shade out new growth. Without roots of living grass, water evaporates from the soil, and the resulting erosion creates desert.
By bringing ruminants back in to eat, pee, and poop, the grasses return, water is retained, and the land is healed. Thus Regenerative Farming of ruminants creates the healthiest meat (grass fed beef), improves the land (regenerative), creates increased long term productivity for the farmer (economic benefits) and eventually yields a larger volume of meat (feeds more people). Similar practices are being used for foragers (pigs) and for fowl (chickens), which have also always played a vital role in the earth’s ecosystem.
WHY NOT CERTIFIED ORGANIC?
Our chicken and all of our vegetables are certified organic and are non-GMO project verified. Our grass fed beef and bison, and pasture raised turkey and pork are raised organically, with no hormones, antibiotics or GMO feed. We source from small American family farmers that raise their animals exclusively on pasture in sustainable and regenerative ways which means they rotate the grazing constantly to avoid overgrazing any one area. This practice makes organic certification extremely costly because every inch of pasture on their entire farm would have to be certified. On the other hand, our Salmon is wild caught which means it also cannot be certified organic because it is not a product of agriculture. For these reasons, we chose to forgo the organic certification in order to support small American family farmers and use regeneratively raised meat, which is better for your baby and better for the planet.
WE SUPPORT FAMILY FARMS
Serenity Kids is very excited to use regeneratively raised meat in our baby food, but it doesn’t stop there! My mom was raised on a small family farm in southern Missouri, and I grew up visiting relatives there. I witnessed the close relationship my family had with their animals, and experienced the serene harmony of that farming lifestyle. But I also learned about their economic hardship and how difficult it is for them to compete with large factory farming systems. So the Serenity Kids team decided to source grass fed beef and pasture raised chicken and pork only from small family farms. We connected with the amazing revolutionary farm family at Singing Prairie Farms, which created a co-op of family farmers raising their animals on pasture and using regenerative farming practices. We visited several of these farms and got to see how the animals are being raised before they become the meat in our baby food.
After meeting these family farmers, we wanted to give back more somehow. We will be donating 1% of Serenity Kids profits to the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit that provides legal and advocacy services for small farmers. These services provide small farmers with a stronger voice in governmental policy as well as legal representation in lawsuits when they’re attacked by larger, wealthier entities.
Serenity Kids has developed an baby food that’s packed with nutrition, convenient for parents, tastes great to babies, supports small family farmers, treats animals humanely, and heals the planet!
And that is how we want to feed our baby. How do you want to feed yours?