Food Stories

Documentary shorts — unscripted — featuring farmers, artisans, and others

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Raised On Grass: Pastured Fed Animals (video)

New to the life of farming, a middle-aged couple make a career change to becoming sustainable farmers. First mentoring under Joel Salatin, they now raise pasture fed cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, lambs, and sheep.

I started to really think about the food the animals I ate were fed, after I saw “King Corn” and talked to Curt Ellis.

As I was breaking down the equipment and packing it all away, I said, more or less to out loud to myself, ‘I ought to do a story on pasture fed cows’. Curt was right there, responding, ‘You should!’. I nodded my head, thinking, Okay, I’ll look into it.

As the Jongles look on, their animals graze on the pasture grassThe looking didn’t come right away. But evidently the forces in the world were at work, for not too long after, I finally started reading “Omnivore’s Dilemma” . The second chapter was all about Michael Pollan visiting Polyface Farm where Joel Salatin raises his animals as humanely possible and on pasture. Not concrete, not alongside thousands of others, not full of injections, and not 100% grain fed. Sounded like a good idea to me. But Mr. Salatin was nearly 3,000 miles away. It wasn’t going to work, at least not right away. In the meantime, I started to read his book, “You Can Farm,” and I liked what he was doing and wanted to learn more.

In the meantime I met with Michele to talk about films and food. I mentioned to her I wanted to do a pasture fed story and she immediately lit up and told me about the Abundant Life Farm
buyers club, for that’s where she got her meat, and it was all grass fed and pasture raised.

chickens feeding in the open pastureSo I gave the Jondles a call and found quite a story. Not Joel Salatin’s, mind you (but they did mentor under him!), but their own story that was quite compelling. What a wonderful environment they’ve created for their animals. The pigs get to root under brush and tree, the chickens get to scatter, and the cows and lambs run at will. In fact, when Marilyn opened the gate for the cows to go to a fresh area of pasture, they ran and kicked up their heels! What a sight that was. I’m not an animal psychologist, but these are happy cows!

A website that is dedicated to news and facts surrounding grass fed food is EatWild. Yes, pasture fed meat is more expensive, but I believe it’s healthier to eat, and more humane for the animals as well.

Check out the recipes from this show: Mom’s Potato Salad; Easy Baked Chicken

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11 Comments

  1. I was so inspired by this couple and now so SAD to hear that they were murdered. What a horrendous loss to the farming community and everybody who knew them. May their inspiration and memory live on.

  2. We love getting our meat at Abundant Life Farm! We took the leap and bought half a pig, a quarter of a cow, and many chickens. We even took a tour recently, and the Jondle’s were so gracious and welcoming. Here’s a link to my blog recounting our visit: http://yardtofork.wordpress.com/2010/02/06/farm-tour-abundant-life-farm/ Thanks for all you do to bring these kinds of stories to life!

    • Thanks, Amy! That’s the way to do it – get a large portion and freeze for later use. Thanks for sharing your visit with the Jondles…so cool they are so close and I (obviously) love what they are doing on their farm. I hope more people can support this way of farming, so it can continue too.

  3. JeanAnnVK says:

    Thanks for the fuchsia love! They are one of the most beautiful flowers around…wish they made good cut flowers…

  4. Hey Rebecca,
    Actually, the lettuce pic was taken in my breakfast nook first thing in the day… and the honda that I bought actually makes the motor for the medium sized mantis…so I am hoping I have saved some money by buying the honda…

  5. I am checking out abundant life farm pronto!

  6. stacy says:

    I think growing your own stuff, crop wise, is the best bet so there are no pestiside and stuff that you have to worry about. The only thing I buy is my meat and chicken….oh and there is an awesome site I use for my gardening and food ideas and tip, AnswersTV.com. They have a food channel, garden channel, health channel, all that good stuff. Definitely a great resource for people looking for all around tips and even great recipes.

  7. Beth Dieker says:

    I am so glad the Jondle’s decided to start their farm! We’re big fans! We have been getting meat from Abundant Life for a couple years and it really is a quality product.

  8. rebecca says:

    Thanks, Crystal! Yes, the Jondles are very inspirational and it was so good to see a farm like this in action.

    Hope you enjoy the book too. BTW, I just found out Joel Salatin is speaking in Olympia tonight! If someone is interested and is nearby, he’ll be at Evergreen State College, at 7pm. More info here: http://www.evergreen.edu/news/archive/2008/05/sustainableagriculture

  9. Crystal Benson says:

    Buy Salatin’s book from an independant book store: http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-9780963810922-0

    I’m going to order it now.

    Thanks for the video and story. It is very inspiring!