Your Health

Not Local and Proud Of It

For one restaurant not having local beef was part of their socially conscious strategy to source grass-fed flank steaks. John Pepper, CEO of Boloco, a chain of socially responsible burrito restaurants, launched a series of videos on YouTube to tell people what their burritos are made of. Pepper decided to purchase his beef from Uruguay after visiting Verde Farms, learning about their farming practices (organic, grass-fed, antibiotic-free) and observing their authentic Uruguayan cow wranglers.

Uruguayan Beef, Baby!

In her article for NPR Anna Haensch writes:

As the local food movement gathers momentum, Pepper’s choice to go public with this confession of far-flung food sourcing might seem like an unusual one. Locavores might scoff at Boloco’s argument that Uruguayan beef is the socially conscious choice for its restaurants.

“I even wondered: Are we doing the right thing?” Pepper says of his decision to source meat from another continent. “So I went down there to see.”

At the heart of Boloco’s meat story is Verde Farms, which sources the organic, grass-fed, hormone-free beef that Boloco uses in its flank steak. The video showcases one of Verde’s suppliers in Uruguay, Santa Ana ranch, with green pastures, healthy-looking cows, and humane processing facilities designed in collaboration with , the pioneering animal scientist whose methods revolutionized modern cattle farming.

She also sent Pepper’s videos to Ben Lilliston of the Institute for Agricultural Policy (IATP) to get their take on Boloco’s meat sourcing. Lilliston said the biggest environmental impact of raising cattle is on the farm, rather than in the transportation of it.

Read the full article here.

As consumer demand for locally raised, organic and grass-fed beef continues to rise we’ll see more local farmers sprouting up to fit the demand. And when that happens places like Boloco will have a viable local alternative for high-quality flank steak–minus the Uruguayan cowboys.

About Laura

Laura is passionate about food from real farmers and artisans. She lives with her husband in Grand Rapids on the river. Sometimes it flows over, but mostly she is greeted by the ducks, geese and her neighbor's chickens. They like to hop up on her windowsill and eat the spiders. Yay! She is the co-founder of Two Sister Organics, a natural and organic skin care company, and Eating Local & Organic.

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