In today’s age of large supermarkets and styrofoam-packaged meat, knowing where your meat comes from—even the country of origin—is rare, if not impossible. Cody Hopkins, founder of Grass Roots Coop, understands this more than most.
“You might find a token amount of good (good being the lowest quality meat on a good, better, best standard) quality meat in any number of retail chains. But it’s difficult to figure out what is good and what isn’t good.” This seemingly simple disconnection between consumer and farmer has been intensified as brands and supermarkets cater towards the informed consumer, relying on words like “Organic” and “Grass-Fed” to sway savvy customers.
Hopkins, focused on animal welfare, responsible land management, and sustainable practices, pushes against the trend.
“We wanted to make the farming business simpler for farmers,” said Cody Hopkins, owner of Falling Sky Farms. Since 2014, Grass Roots has since transformed into a unique solution for humane and responsible farmers and conscious consumers.
“Grass Roots wanted to bridge the gap between eating meat and animal welfare. We wanted to help farmers farm and help consumers understand where meat is coming from. We wanted to help farmers sell their meat without having to solely rely on farmer’s markets. And Grass Roots has accomplished that.”
With a new addition to their business, Meat Box Subscriptions, Grass Roots allows you to order pasture-raised meat delivered directly to your door. Though originally they had offered a home delivery option with 200 lbs of meat delivered quarterly (similar to a crop share), they recognized that the consumer wanted greater flexibility in choosing what meat they wanted and how much they wanted. However, flexibility wasn’t the only goal.
Hopkins continues, “Grass Roots was really focused on trying to find a way to give our customers more information at the point of purchase. How can we make it easy for folks to learn more about where the product comes from and how it’s raised? So that was the initial thing that drew us to this technology.”
This technology, called blockchain technology, makes it possible to track the origin of your meat down to the farm where it was raised. Grass Roots provides profiles—like a Facebook page—for each farm so that you are able to read about the people who raised the meat you purchased.
“It’s a way for us to keep track of the animals and then present that in a really digestible way to our customers so they can truly understand where their chickens came from, down to the day and time and what farm they were raised on.”
This method provides intense transparency, something that consumers aren’t offered anywhere else.
Though Hopkins enjoys the business side of Grass Roots, he focuses his attention on the animals he cares for and strives to bring a holistic approach to a traditionally non-holistic industry.
“Our pasture-raised chickens are chickens that are actually raised on green grass. They improve the quality of that grass so that other species like cattle can benefit from higher quality nutrition. We focus on a more holistic approach that leverages the symbiotic nature of animals. A farm managed properly benefits the land, allowing us to really focus on respecting the animals and the land.”
With these sustainable practices now spread to 20 family farms throughout Arkansas, Grass Roots is focusing on the future with agricultural practices that represent the latest thinking.
“We just want folks to be able to make an educated decision on what meat they are buying for their families,” Hopkins adds.
Grass Roots ships to homes across the US, but if you are located in Arkansas, you are also invited to visit and tour their farms.
As a special offer for Rock City Eats readers, Grass Roots is also offering $50 off your first order of $100. Use ROCKCITY50.