As we learn more about sustainable agriculture and the dangers of genetically modified foods from revealing documentaries like Food, Inc., we are increasingly concerned about where the food we eat comes from.
Our burgeoning curiosity about the locavore movement led us to discover White Oak Pastures, a farm located in our home state of Georgia that focuses on sustainable land stewardship, animal welfare and eco-friendly farming practices. Located in Bluffton, GA, the farm has been in the Harris family since 1866, focusing primarily on grass-fed beef and lamb and free-range poultry. Their motto?
“We take care of the land and the herd, and they take care of us.”
Earlier this month at the Take Pride In America celebration in Washington, DC, fourth generation cattleman (and WOP President) Will Harris received an American Treasures award for setting national standards in sustainable farming. Under Harris’ watch, the company has become the largest certified organic farm in Georgia; one of only two on-farm, USDA-inspected, grass-fed beef plants in the country; home to the largest solar barn in the Southeast; received a Step 5 rating from the Global Animal Partnership, (their processing plant is also Animal Welfare approved); and made their processing plants zero waste operations, with blood turned into liquid organic fertilizer, bones ground into bone meal, and all eviscerate composted to use as soil amendments for the farm’s certified organic pastures.
We recently spoke with Harris about the ongoing changes in the farming industry, the importance of sustainable agriculture and the future he hopes to see.