See 2 important studies by the Union of Concerned Scientists on the benefits of pasture-based meats:
1) Greener Pastures — [excerpt] “…most cattle in the United States spend significant parts of their lives in crowded feedlots with hundreds or thousands of other animals, eating feed that contains large amounts of grain (primarily corn). While cattle on pasture rarely get sick, those confined to feedlots and fed grain are prone to disease and most feedlot operators routinely feed antibiotics to prevent illness and to accelerate growth. This, in turn, increases the risk of antibiotic resistance in humans. In addition, air and water pollution stemming from dust and mountains of feedlot manure, and the many fertilizers and pesticides used in grain production, exact a heavy toll on the environment and the health of farmers, farm workers, and nearby residents.
Fortunately, there are better ways to raise food animals. Raising cattle on pasture lessens environmental damage, improves animal health, and reduces antibiotic use.”
2) Greener Eggs & Ham — [excerpt] “The benefits to producers who raise hogs and poultry on pasture include lower costs, lower capital needs, the ability to produce in season, less exposure to airborne hazards, and fewer objections from neighbors regarding odors and pollution. Consumers benefit from less exposure to antibiotic-resistant microbes, better tasting products (mainly due to the use of heritage breeds of hogs and chickens), and the knowledge that less environmental damage occurred in the production of the food.”
Sustainable Farmer is a multimedia online magazine for people raising food and fiber with respect for the future of all living things. As food and fuel prices rise, many farmers now look to sustainable agriculture as a way to provide fresh local food to local consumers — in ways that protect the planet. This site offers the information and advice that they need to succeed.
Lists markets, CSAs, co-ops and grocery stores with local foods, organic restaurants, etc.
Ann Arbor Area – The Farmer’s Marketer
Great site, with details posted weekly on produce available at Ann Arbor area farmer’s markets, links to local food blogs.
Community Supported Agriculture
CSA information and more links to find CSAs
In addition to farmers markets, coops, restaurants, this site also lists organic products, current news articles on sustainable ag
Sweetwater Market – Muskegon
“Michigan’s first” to exclusively sell products from humanely raised animals and fruits & vegetables grown in an ecologically sound manner.”
“Taste the Local Difference” for NW Michigan – MI Land Use Institute
A nonprofit organization promoting awareness of the health, environmental and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet
Vegetarian Travel Guide – Michigan
Lists restaurants, co-ops, health food stores, retailers, etc. that carry local and organic foods
West Michigan FRESH
This site has a pdf and an on-line searchable guide for all of west Michigan
USDA list of Michigan Farmers Markets
Sustainable Table — helping consumers make healthy choices to create a sustainable food system
Slow Food — what you eat shapes the rural landscape around you
The Humane Society of the United States
HSUS is major force for humane treatment of farm animals, focusing on confinement operations
Beginning Farmer — on starting small farms, CSAs, grazing, etc.
Watershed Media — excellent books, several written or edited by Dan Imhoff, CAFO, Farming with the Wild, Food Fight
Island Press — major publisher of environmental, sustainable agriculture books
see especially —
Fatal Harvest: The Tragedy of Industrial Agriculture, ed. by Andrew Kimbrell
Ecoagriculture: Strategies to Feed the World and Save Wild Biodiversity, by Jeffrey A. McNeely and Sara J. Scherr
Farm as Natural Habitat: Reconnecting Food Systems with Ecosystems, ed. by Dana L. Jackson and Laura L. Jackson