Coalition Report

By Jenn DeRose, Known & Grown Manager, Missouri Coalition for the Environment

Flipping The Bird At Factory Farms

If you eat meat, there’s a good chance that what you buy comes from a CAFO, or concentrated animal feeding operation —also known as a Factory Farm. Factory farmed animals are packed nose-to-tail in cramped quarters. They are pumped full of antibiotics to keep them alive just long enough to be slaughtered. They are denied access to the foods they evolved to eat. And, as is the case for most poultry consumed in the United States, they never feel the sun on their backs or the grass on their feet. 

According to Organic Consumers, 46 million turkeys will be eaten on Thanksgiving, with between 85-90% of them raised in factory farms. This means that at least 39 million birds will be crammed into warehouses for a single day’s worth of food. 

These birds are often sold with labels such as “farm fresh” or “all-natural,” meaningless designations that don’t tell consumers the truth about how these animals were raised. Of course, factory farms don’t just harm animals—they also damage waterways with overflowing waste, threatening water supplies, harming residents with chronic air pollution, and endangering workers with unsafe working conditions. 

Luckily, there is something you can do to disrupt our current exploitative and extractive food system —you can feed your family a holiday meal made from safe, delicious, locally-sourced, humanely-raised, and environmentally-responsible food. 

We’ve made it easy to find environmentally responsible and humanely raised items with our new Local Food Locator, available on our website knownandgrownstl.org/food-finder/ Use our interactive mapping tool by entering your zip code, checking the types of food you’d like, (such as turkey, pork, and leafy greens), and the tool will show the stores, farms, and delivery services that offer the products you’re looking for. 

We’ve also created a series of guides to help eaters find products from our Known & Grown STL farmers, from farmers markets to pasture raised poultry to farmer delivery services. Follow us at @knownandgrownstl on Facebook and Instagram to see our guides as we release them. 

Farmers in our program treat their animals humanely, with access to fresh air, sunshine, and, most importantly, pasture, where they are able to forage for food and live their lives as a healthy addition to a thriving ecosystem. This holiday season, flip industrial agriculture the bird and treat yourself and your family to a meaningful meal.