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Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Meat in Connecticut
 

Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Meat in Connecticut

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Hear from Sam Garwin of Craft Butchery, Connecticut's first and only pasture-raised whole animal butcher shop, about the sustainable meat supply chain and challenges and opportunities facing local ...

Hear from Sam Garwin of Craft Butchery, Connecticut's first and only pasture-raised whole animal butcher shop, about the sustainable meat supply chain and challenges and opportunities facing local producers and processors.

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  • Butcher shop has a unique place in the supply chainSee lots of regional farms first hand, wide range of size and qualityDirectly impacted by the quality and availability of processorsWork and talk with consumers daily
  • I’m going to now talk about four challenges that we see on the front lines, day to day, and then discuss the opportunities that result from those challenges
  • Photos courtesy of The Hickories (www.thehickories.org)- There is relatively little open land in Connecticut for raising pasture-raised animals- With some obvious exceptions, much of the state is rocky, hillyAs evidenced by previous presentations, the demand is there for 100% grass fed beef. But where are we going to put them?Seasons in the northeast are particularly hard on beef farmers; most of the beef farmers we use supplement with grain, hay or silage during the winter months. This has been done for centuries! Livestock that is losing weight is not healthy – it is stressed.- Connecticut is more well suited to lamb, pigs, rabbits, chicken, but…
  • - There is a difference between being educated and being convinced- We opened our shop in Westport with certain ideas about CT consumers: educated, conscientious, progressive, etc- We have found that the reason people walk into our store is rarely because of philosophy/values. More often it is for some other reason- We often win customers over to the sustainable viewpoints later, but that’s not what gets them in the store to begin with
  • - Eating may be a political actbut first and foremost it is an emotional act- We can overcome the cost argument with visceral experiences - Humans are not rational! - Beyond our circle, how do you get to the point where it’s completely uncool to bring stop n’ shop meat into the house?
  • Photo c/o The Hickories (www.thehickories.org)
  • Photo c/o Craft Butchery

Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Meat in Connecticut Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Meat in Connecticut Presentation Transcript

  • Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Meat in Connecticut Samantha Garwin Whole Animal Butcher, Director of Marketing Saugatuck Craft Butchery, Westport, CT sam@craftbutchery.com / @samgarwin
  • The^ meat supply chain Retailer Consumer Farmer Processor Small-medium Serves small farmers Sources locally Educated Organic methods Humane methods Sources whole animal Inquisitive Pastured animals Proper waste disposal Strict quality standards Highly skilled Highly skilled Highly skilled @CraftButchery
  • Challenge 1: High production costs Farmer Processor Retailer Long time to market Low volume Pays premium prices for quality meat Expensive/time intensive land preservation techniques Requires highly skilled workforce for a highly dangerous job Requires highly skilled workforce Pays rent to be in a consumer-dense location Requires highly skilled workforce
  • Challenge 2: Inadequate CT land @CraftButchery
  • Challenge 3: Processor shortage 8 3 0 0 # of processors in Connecticut # of CT processors that are USDA inspected during slaughter # of USDA inspected CT processors that process chickens # of CT processors prepared to take on significant new business
  • Challenge 4: Unconvinced consumers* What we expected What we’ve found Taste Sourcing Philosophy / Values Health Support Local Economy Perception of Quality / Status * highly un-scientific data
  • Challenges recap (1) High costs of production make it difficult to start and maintain sustainable farming operations (2) Connecticut land is not adequate to support local demand for 100% grass fed beef (3) There is a shortage of processors to serve small and medium scale farmers (4) The majority of consumers have not been swayed by rational arguments in favor of sustainable meat @CraftButchery
  • Opportunities CHALLENGE #1 High costs of production make it difficult to start and maintain sustainable farming operations OPPORTUNITIES (1) Public/private partnerships to train beginning farmers in organic methods (2) Mentoring and knowledge sharing in the farming and livestock community (3) Great timing: Lots of eyes (and $$$) on food @CraftButchery
  • Opportunities CHALLENGE #2 Connecticut land is not adequate to support demand for 100% grass fed beef OPPORTUNITIES (1) Source sustainable meats from regions better optimized for its production (2) Provide technical and marketing support for a wider range of beef farmers (3) Encourage diversified farms and eating habits @CraftButchery
  • Opportunities CHALLENGE #3 There is a shortage of processors to serve small and medium scale farmers OPPORTUNITIES (1) Processor cooperatives (2) Mobile slaughter (3) Training and incentive programs for processors (4) Open source documentation for processors @CraftButchery
  • Opportunities CHALLENGE #4 The majority of consumers have not been swayed by the scientific sustainable meat pitch OPPORTUNITIES (1) Make it easy (2) Make it cool (3) Make it sexy } to eat sustainable meat @CraftButchery
  • We are making progress! @CraftButchery
  • THANK YOU! 580 Riverside Ave, Westport, CT 06880 /CraftButchery @CraftButchery Samantha Garwin sam@craftbutchery.com / @SamGarwin