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As the new year new you diet bandwagon sets off, let’s set a few things straight. Eating vegetables, fruits and pulses is good for you. Eating meat is good for you – in fact our diet requires protein and fat and at this time of year especially, not much of that grows. As The Ethical Butcher’s Regenuary movement is putting across very well, what we all need to be doing – chosen diets and lifestyles aside – is eating more sustainably sourced produce across the board.

When it comes to food production, the thing that is causing an issue, is how it is affecting our environment. And make no mistake, the detrimental effects cannot just be pinned on meat production either as we are led to believe – all food production needs to be held accountable. By specifically targeting meat production, all farms and farmers are being tarred by the same brush – which is certainly not the case. There needs to be a differentiation between how livestock is being farmed when it comes to the affects farming has on the environment.

Even in ‘Veganuary’ when all fingers are pointing at the meat production industry, and how ‘awful’ it is for the environment, supporting those farmers who truly care about their livestock and the land they graze on, is very much a valid and vital way to help.

If you thought you could simply swap beef or pork for the ever-trendy avocado or nuts, you’d actually be making a worse choice for the environment. Avocados are one of the most unethical fruits in actual fact. With the demand for them being so great, their production has now massively contributed to deforestation, soya too. And that’s without getting into the pesticides used and how that affects water pollution.

But, we digress… The goal really needs to be a move away from supporting mass-produced, cheap produce. Meat-lovers can and should still enjoy eating meat, but look to buy less, better quality meat.

Thankfully, Lakings can make the move towards buying better, an easier one.

For so long consumers have put their faith in the face-value of a product – the label, the trademarks, the fancy packaging – depending on their transparency and honesty to guide their buying habits. That is no longer enough – in fact, it hasn’t been enough for a while now. The consumer has had to expand their knowledge, question accountability, traceability, food miles, animal welfare – and rightly so. The stickler is, quite often, unless you’re buying from the farmer’s themselves, you will never truly know what you’re buying.

Thankfully Lakings can offer its customers expert knowledge from both sides of the fence – from the fields to the counters. Having his own abattoir – and farm of pedigree sheep for that matter – Lakings owner Andrew Wright knows the local farmers, the produce and how one affects the other. Lakings has always bought from local farmers, and since Andrew took the business over, that hasn’t changed. If anything, the hyper-locality of the produce sold at Lakings has increased. And with it, accountability, traceability and a decrease in food miles. Supporting farmers and their livelihoods and taking pride in the produce it sells has always been the Lakings way.

There’s a reason – besides Covid social distancing – that Lakings has a queue out the door. From rearing to slaughter and beyond to butchery, Lakings is always working to ensure the best is done by the livestock that provide cuts for the counters. Through welfare, provenance and traditional rearing, the heritage of how local farmer’s work is reflected in the quality of meat, work ethics and ultimately consumer satisfaction of the produce Lakings sells.

Even the online ordering system is based on a high level of sustainability. Packaging is not only fully recyclable but can also be reused. WoolCool encases every online order in a soft and temperature balancing felt and wool membrane, meaning the product never suffers from external damage during the transportation. So, no matter where you are, your Lakings order will arrive as perfectly as it was packaged.

Even at farming level, green energy is being harnessed to ensure a cleaner working environment – and not just Andrew’s family farm and abattoir. Countless small-scale farmers – many of which supply Lakings – are investing in efficient production systems, solar, wind and biomass energy systems, all to reach the ultimate goal of UK farming being a zero-emissions industry.

Emissions from beef production in the UK, just beef, are around half the global average, so it’s plain to see that our farmers are already going above and beyond to reduce their carbon footprint. UK beef too is not a driver for deforestation, as it is in many other countries, which just goes to show that you cannot tar one entire industry with that same brush we were talking about earlier.

No matter what diet you currently eat, or are thinking of trying this new year, the best way to assist sustainability and environmental wellness is eat local and seasonal produce that is farmed ethically. You’ll find nothing else at Lakings – let us help you make a difference.

Here are some facts

  1. Red meat is one of the richest sources of protein, zinc, iron and vitamin B
  2. Total numbers of cattle and calves, as well as pigs, decreased in the year up to June 2020, showing that we are slowly making some head way when it comes to eating less but better meat.
  3. That said, just three years ago, 70% of the UK’s farm animals were kept in factory farms showing how much work there is to be done to eradicate intensive farming. There has never been a better time to support your local, small-scale farmer.
  4. Beef has a lower fat content today, than it did 20 years ago due to the progress and evolution of farming methods and how cattle are kept – grazing on grass for longer, for example.
  5. Factory farmed beef for example requires twice as much fossil fuel energy input as pasture-reared beef.  Intensive farming is an energy-hungry industry. Period.
  6. Around 65% of farmland in the UK is best suited to growing grass rather than other crops. If it wasn’t used for grazing livestock it wouldn’t be used at all to produce food. Grass, something we cannot eat or digest, gets turned into nutrient rich, high-protein beef and lamb as if by magic. The land itself while being used for grazing provides a habitat for native wildlife species including many pollinators.

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