The Meat of the Matter

How regulation affects the local meat supply.

A number of changes by CFIA regarding meat processing in 2004 put many small producers and processors out of business.  In 2010, these restrictions were somewhat relaxed, allowing for farm gate sales and provincially inspected abattoirs who could meet new standards to continue operating.  For farmers in the Nelson area, that means bringing their animals to Creston, Cranbrook, or Rock Creek.  For small scale farmers this has been an impasse.

Travel time and costs, as well as low market value, have pushed our local meat production to unsustainable levels, and given rise to the centralization of production and processing.  This coupled with government restrictions has led to a province wide crisis when it comes to sourcing locally raised meat.

Luckily, there are some community minded folks out there fighting for our food security. Judy Morton of ‘Passmore Pluckers’ (a local small scale poultry processor) has allowed chicken farmers in the Slocan an outlet to legally process and sell their poultry.

The Co-op has been fortunate enough to purchase, for our members, beautiful and well raised local chickens from Tulaberry Farms, and local turkeys for thanksgiving from Against the Wind Farms.  As of yet, we have no local processor of red meat, but a group in Grand Forks has been trying to start a small scale mobile abattoir which might be a game changer for our ‘true local’ meat farmers, supplying them with a ‘close to home’ processing option which would save them time and money.  This in turn, would encourage an increase in farm production, allowing our members better quality, selection and price.

-Doug Falconer, On the Table Winter Issue 2013

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