According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, globally we are losing one livestock breed a month. That may not seem like such a big deal since the ones that remain, such as the Holstein cow, which supplies 93% of our dairy products, are such super-producers. But the lack of diversity in our food chain ought to be a real concern. At the turn of the 20th century, there were 6,000 dairy farms in Rhode Island; now there are 17. In the 1920s, there were 60 breeds of chickens in the US; now the Cornish Rock dominates the market. In the 1930s, there were 15 breeds of pigs in the US; six of those are now extinct and just three breeds dominate the market.
Changing the trend doesn’t have to be a chore.
Here are a number of ways you can be a part:
On Your Plate
There’s no better way to help conservation than to put a little diversity on your plate. And buying heritage breed products gives farmers the opportunity to create and maintain niche markets. Try out some grass-fed beef, or unbelievable lamb! Read more >>
Here’s our staff picks. After exhausting the books on heritage breeds and biodiversity, we have immersed ourselves in all the favorite “know your farmer, know your food books.” Read more >>
Visit and Learn
On the East Coast, there are loads of great places to go: farms to visit and living museums where you can learn about rare breeds and how these livestock molded America. Even stopping at a farmstand or patronizing a farmer’s market can make a difference. Read more >>