'I awake each morning torn between a desire to save the world, and a desire to savour the world. This makes it hard to plan my day.' ~ EB White
We Jonai (Stuart, Tammi, Oscar, Antigone & Atticus) believe in savouring while we save the world, which is how we ended up just outside Daylesford, Victoria starting up a free-range rare breed pig farm in 2011. Years of advocating for ethical food production and consumption seemed to lead naturally to the need to become producers ourselves, and we haven't regretted the decision for a moment.
We've been raising rare breed Large Black pigs on our 69 acres of volcanic paddocks since October 2011, and started selling ethical pork in January 2013, both locally in our region and through a box system into Melbourne. We had a difficult time finding a butcher who had the capacity to take on our pigs, and shared our philosophy to waste nothing. We currently contract our butchering out to the wonderful Salvatore in Ballan, but continue to face challenges with availability and licence for artisanal curing.
Since becoming farmers, we've learned a great deal more about the multitude of (often invisible) stakeholders in the supply chain. We already raise the pigs, transport them to the abattoir, home from the butcher, and then deliver them directly to our customers. We'd like to shorten the chain even further and do the butchering ourselves here at Jonai Farms, so that when you ask, 'how is the bacon cured?' we can answer you with firsthand confidence.
We'd also like our butchering facility to be available to local smallholders who do their annual slaughter for the year's meat supply, and as a space to educate more people about where various cuts from and why they should all be valued from nose to tail, as well as how to cook all the cuts! Other small commercial producers like us have expressed interest in the facility for their operations as well, and we hope ultimately we'll be able to train others in our region to be artisanal butchers working with free range and rare breed meat.
And with a boning room on site, we can not only give our own customers more confidence in the meat they eat, we can use our blogs, twitter, Facebook and other social media to help build the broader community's knowledge about ethical food choices - including more detailed information about every aspect of the supply chain.
To do all of this, we need a PrimeSafe licensed boning room on site. We're planning to convert a 40-foot refrigerated container, and Stuart's expertise in building means we'll do the majority of the labour to construct it ourselves, excluding services. We have already demonstrated our capacity to repurpose shipping containers, including the one that is now our bedroom, office & ensuite.
An overview of our budget is as follows:
$ 5,500 40-foot refrigerated container + delivery
$ 1,700 licence and admin fees
Note that we set our target intentionally low to give us a better chance of reaching it. Any funds above the target will enable us to obtain materials more easily (not all secondhand, for example!) and commence work on a smokehouse and curing room more quickly.
I have started apprenticing to our experienced butcher to learn the trade properly, so that once the boning room is ready, I'll be ready too!
Our delightful children are very much a part of our ethical farming project, with 13-year-old Oscar focused on helping local farmers like us improve the transparency of their operations with his new business doing aerial photography and cinematography, 11-year-old Antigone doing most of our graphic design and nursing the occasional runt, and 9-year-old Atticus ensuring all the pigs are well socialised with humans, which helps ensure low-stress handling.
We've structured our rewards to provide you with a return on your investment beyond the satisfaction of supporting a local food economy and transparent, ethical food production. We're not exaggerating when we claim our rare breed Large Black pork is 'uncommonly delicious' - if you support our venture you'll get to find out for yourselves! *Note: we can only guarantee delivery within 150km of the farm. Further afield only by special negotiation!*
And remember, you are what you eat, so eat ethically. :-)
Check out the Jonai Farms website and farm blog (The Hedonist Life), as well as Tammi Jonas: Food Ethics!
UPDATE: 30 MAY 2013
With 12 days to go, we're setting ourselves a stretch target to raise enough to build a curing room as well in preparation for what we hope will be a long future of curing our own smallgoods right here on the farm! We estimate it's only another $10,000 for us to set it up next to the boning room, and we're already almost $3,000 of the way there!
So tell your friends to get on board for our delicious rewards! Can we raise $32,000 by 11 June?! With your help, we think we can!