Browngirl Going Green

Freedom Food

Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, aka The Black Farmer (photo from The Black Farmer web site)

I found these two sites while I was poking around on the Internet, and it made me feel hopeful for the possibilities for the food industry in this country.

The Black Farmer is, indeed, a Black farmer (that is, a farmer of African descent), who lives and farms in the West Country of England. He raises outdoor bred pork for sausages (or ‘bangers’ as British people call them) and other animals for meat. I have to say, just by reading the site and watching the video, those sausages do look damn good. And to know that they are humanely raised, outdoors, and are, as the site states ‘gluten-free’, makes them sound even better.

The Black Farmer claims that his meat products are 100% British Freedom Food, which piqued my curiosity. As you can see on the site, Freedom food is the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ official designation for meat, fish and any other game that has been raised in a humane fashion. The agency has created standards for the welfare of animals that are raised for human consumption, and these standards are posted on web site.

The RSPCA says that the standards, “cover every aspect of the animals’ lives, including feed and water provision, the environment they live in, how they are managed, health care, transport, and humane slaughter/killing. The standards are designed to ensure that all animals reared according to the requirements have everything they need for a good quality of life, whether they are kept on large or small farms, or in indoor or outdoor production systems.”

It doesn’t surprise me that the Brits have something like this in place, and that the RSPCA is a royally recognized charity (on the web site they state, “Her Majesty the Queen recognises the work we do for animals in England and Wales, and that our reputation extends worldwide) is not surprising either. The Royal Family are well-known conservationists and animal lovers, and Prince Phillip is a former President of the Board of Trustees of the World Wildlife Fund.

It would be cool to have a similar designation scheme in the United States—instead of having to rely on vague labeling like ‘hormone-free’ or even ‘free-range’. What do those mean exactly? And what government agency (if any) would define, measure and enforce these standards? Since nothing like this exists now in the US, it’s nice to envision something like Freedom Fund in this country. Has a nice ring to it, too.