Industrialized farming’s profit-driven methods of breeding are starting to produce genetic weaklings. There is a flip side to this. Meet Jeannette Beranger of American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, who made a fascinating and enlightening presentation at Astor Center on August 17. The topic: Bringing Heritage Breeds Back to the Farm and Table. Preserving these ancient and hearty strains is of the upmost importance, and not only as a way to keep the big breeders on track. Jeanette shared her hands-on knowledge of these historic breeds’ personalities, habits and preferences, and showed how raising these animals as part of a system of give-and-take with the environment is loaded with benefits. Geese make great security guards, chickens take care of pest problems, horses and oxen pull plows, and with sheep and cows you need never worry about grass cutting.
These breeds have naturally evolved to be resistant to disease, are suited to their environments and offer a purer food source. See the website for details about the animals, and which ones desperately need saving. Chefs (and diners!), you can support this organization by becoming a member, or by becoming familiar, and ordering, your local breeds. The newly launched classified section on the website, can connect you to sources or you can call Jeannette at 919-542-5704 x103.