As a retail dietitian, I’ve situated myself in an optimal environment to learn exactly where our food comes from and to understand all the people involved in the process. As a consumer of food, which we all are, it is our responsibility to know this information, but starting down this inquisitive path can be overwhelming, especially when reaching out to local farmers and asking them some difficult questions. So, I will start us down this path! Meet farmer Marc from Island Bison Ranch.
Island Bison Ranch is located on Vancouver Island, in Black Creek, which is just north of Courtenay. Less than 10 years ago, Marc and his family ventured over to Vancouver Island, from the mainland, to start this new chapter in their life – farming! A lot of lessons have been learnt along the way: goats do not necessarily eat the grass you want them to eat, and by saving a bison calve from the womb of her dead mother, will result in a domesticated adult bison, who sleeps on the door mat to the farm store…Marc’s passion for farming and his love for the animals was unbelievable and how it should be.
On Island Bison Ranch, the bison enjoy free ranging on open pastures throughout the summer months. They are 100% grass fed, without the use of antibiotics or added growth hormones. Marc maintains this amazing low stress environment for his animals, which is obvious by their demeanor. Bison are wild, fast, smart unpredictable and can be deadly if they feel threatened or provoked but they were calm, cool & collected while eating their alfalfa pellets next to Mark and us.
Using a rifle, Marc kills every bison himself. He transports the bison to the processing plant and once the animal has calmed down from the 20min truck ride from the farm he says a little prayer and thanks the animal for its sacrifice.
Nutritionally, what’s the deal with bison? Bison is a healthier red meat because it’s so lean and a great source of iron (higher amounts of iron in bison compared to beef).
Now it’s your turn! If you are a meat eater, support local farmers like Marc on Island Bison Ranch. This will send a message to the less humane farmers that their tactics and farming techniques will not fly anymore! As a consumer, your voice is where you put your money, so scream loud! Every voice counts. Here is a list of where to buy Island Bison meat or visit any Choices Markets.
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