On a large island in the Puget Sound, Farmstead Meatsmith is helping to revive traditional animal husbandry. Brandon and Lauren Sheard, the husband and wife team at its helm, harvest and process animals using traditional methods and offer hands-on classes and videos on everything from animal slaughter to charcuterie making. Their aim is to “restore the peasant art of traditional practices to its proper home: your kitchen.”
Since its inception in 2010 Farmstead Meatsmith has focused on eater empowerment through hands-on education and beautifully-crafted instructional media. They recently launched a Kickstarter Campaign to raise funds to complete construction of their butcher shop and mobile slaughter truck, enhance their class offerings, and produce more instructional media.
WHY MOBILE SLAUGHTERING?
Small farmers, for whom humane slaughter is of the utmost importance, are the biggest backers of the Kickstarter campaign to date. They don’t want to send their few pigs off to a commercial processing center that slaughters hundreds of animals a day, uncertain if the meat they receive back is actually from their animals. Instead, Farmstead Meatsmith’s mobile slaughtering truck, a refrigerated box truck with a crane, will allow the FM team to harvest animals on their own turf. The won’t have to go through the stress of being herded with other anxious animals and shipped off to a distant place to be slaughtered and processed. The team can harvest every ounce of the animal on the farmer’s premise and, after carting it back to their shop and processing it according to the farmer’s requests, they can return every cut, organ, and remaining blood to the farmer.
WHY BUTCHER CLASSES?
Classes are the bread and butter of Farmsted Meatsmith. Every part of the process from slaughter to cookery makes for an instructive hands-on class. The Sheards utilize the slaughter and harvesting of the farmer’s animals as educational opportunities for the community. The farmers receive discounted processing fees and eager agrarian supporters get to learn the ins and outs of traditional animal fabrication. Its’ a win-win. According to Brandon “people come to experience what it means to eat animal flesh. They come from home kitchens to learn better food economy through charcuterie.”
THE FUTURE OF MEAT
The Sheard’s believe that industrial meat production is “an intolerable blasphemy against the universe,” and are attempting to make big change on a grassroots level. In his recent Permies podcast, Brandon describes Farmstead Meatsmith as the “root rather than the leaves–the part of the meat processing chain that you don’t see, but that is most essential to providing quality livestock and food.” Custom slaughter and butcher shops like Farmstead Meatsmith have been in existence for centuries but have dwindled since the dawn of industrial meat processing. Through crowdfunded support Farmstead Meatsmith hopes to level the playing field for small-scale farmers in the Pacific Northwest in need of on site processing and fuel local education and empowerment through instructional media and hands-on classes.
You can donate to their Kickstarter campaign here–only 7 days remain to help them reach their pledged goal of $100,000–watch their free educational videos here or learn more about their mission and programming here.