Welcome to our site, and thank you for your interest in local food! On our web site, you can find out all about our farm – by following the links below, you can access information about various aspects of the farm, or you can just keep reading to learn more about us and why we do the things we do. God bless you and keep you!
- Pricing and availability of our products
- Our farm blog, where you can read the latest happenings at the farm
- Become our fan on Facebook – Franciscan Family Farms
- Contact us with any questions
We at Franciscan Family Farms are committed to reversing some of the disturbing trends in modern agriculture – we do not want to raise food that is less healthy than the food that our grandparents ate. As a tradition in our society, we have always attempted to make our children’s lives better than our own… it’s our way of ensuring that the world is headed in the right direction.
But when it comes to food, we seem to have dropped the ball – perhaps we haven’t been paying enough attention. The bulk of the food we’re eating now is raised factory-style with efficiency as a higher goal than quality. In order to achieve this efficiency, we accept hormone treatments for cows and a daily dose of antibiotics for our chickens. We take animals from the diets that they were created to consume and fatten them up on food that would literally kill them if we didn’t slaughter them first.
Every time that we go to the store to buy a product, we’re sending our money somewhere. Perhaps it goes to someone in our town that runs a restaurant, or a local barber. But increasingly, that money is being sent far away from the community. A typical food product is shipped hundreds of miles from farms to processing plants to factories to stores before it ever reaches your plate. So when you buy a bag of frozen chicken at the supermarket, you’re giving a little money to each person along the way, including a fair amount to the oil companies. The alternative is to spend that money at a local farm, where it supports the local economy, provides a fresher product, fosters the self-sufficiency of the community, and minimizes the impact of all that transportation on the environment. Vibrant local economies are a central part of the vision for America, and part of that vision is lost when every product that we buy comes to us from a large, anonymous corporation.
Many farms today are relatively unfriendly to families and children. The equipment is huge, the chemicals are dangerous, and the concern about diseases is high. This means that fewer and fewer children will ever get to experience farm life. In the books that we read to our toddlers, there are farms with cows, pigs, chickens, goats, gardens, horses, etc. That is the image of a farm that we want to maintain – one that would always welcome a group of kids out to see the cows and hold a chicken.
Beauty of God’s Design
Cows were designed to eat grass. They have a digestive system that is fine-tuned to convert grass into useful energy. As they wander about eating grass, they return a large helping of fertilizer to the soil, so that the next time that they pass through, that grass will have grown (along with water and the sun – no tilling, seeding, or herbicide required) to provide another wonderful meal. This process is as natural as can be. Any human lucky enough to eat such a cow will be taking in a portion of all that the cow has eaten in its life – that beef will be lean, delicious, and high in healthy fats.
But today, instead of working with that natural relationship, we take our cattle to feedlots and feed them large quantities of corn. On the surface, that would seem to be a more efficient way to get lots of beef… we can grow corn in massive quantities on the best land (of course, that requires lots of diesel fuel, synthetic fertilizers, and specially formulated herbicides), ship the corn to the cattle feed lots (more diesel), ship the cattle to the feedlots (likely with a subdermal implant of growth hormone already in place), feed the corn to the cows (which puts on lots of marbling – mostly unhealthy fat), and then find a way to deal with massive quantities of manure in one location (leaching into the water supply and requiring lots more diesel to cart away). The end result is a less healthy cow which required a great deal of human effort and nonrenewable resources to produce.
The same kinds of practices are true with other types of agriculture… and we’re just left wondering why we’ve chosen to move so far way from God’s original design. So many things that we’ve done to work against these natural systems have had ill effects – Do we know what the impact of growth hormones in our milk have on children? Are we creating resistant bacteria by feeding antibiotics to animals every day? Do we need to spray large amounts of chemical products all over our foods? The list could go on. Our ancestors managed to have a varied, healthy diet without all of these innovations. We believe that the time is now to go back to raising our food using the systems that our Creator set in place for this planet.
So the final question that might still be lingering is about the name. Our families that are involved in this farming endeavor have a special devotion to St. Francis of Assisi, and his example is a particularly good one for us. He inspires us to respect the dignity of every living creature, to live simply, to love the poor, and to glorify the Lord in all that we do. We felt it only fitting for Franciscan to be in our name as a reminder to imitate our Lord in all that we do.1 Peter 1: 23-25 – “You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for: “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.” This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.