What we eat, how it’s made and where it originated from doesn’t often cross our busy minds. However, over the years farming has evolved so much to keep up with the demands of modern day living, that it has resulted in the world’s food production facing a crisis.
Driven by the desire to return to a non-corporatised, non-mechanised relationship with the earth and animals, the artisan farmer is making a comeback.
Only nature’s very best
Perched on a little hilltop just outside the town of Stellenbosch is Farmer Angus, one of two exclusively grass-fed, pasture-reared cattle farms found in the Western Cape. The 126 hectares of rolling green pastures is testament to Angus McIntosh’s dedication to grass and microbe farming.
Here you won’t find cows squashed together in feedlots eating GMO grain, or crowds of broiler chickens stuffed into tiny metal cages. Farmer Angus practices a technique called regenerative agriculture, which values the life of the animals and the land they graze on. This form of artisanal livestock farming offers a protein source that is high in nutrition and free of any hormones, anti-biotics or chemicals.
From stockbroker to farmer
What started out as a way for Angus to live off the land to feed himself and his family ended up evolving into something much greater than he could have ever imagined. Growing up in a farming family he learnt from his father who owned a conventional cattle farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Years later, after meeting his wife, Angus pursued a lucrative career in London at one of the world’s biggest banks, Goldman Sachs. But, as many South Africans who move abroad and start a family can attest to, it was only a matter of time before Angus and his young family returned to settle on a 126-hectare farm overlooking Spier Wine Estate. The farm is named Ezibusisweni, meaning the place of blessings in Zulu.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma
The family set out to build a home that could function entirely off the grid and farm the land to provide the family with organic fruit and vegetables. However after reading Michael Pollan’s, the Omnivore’s Dilemma, Angus became inspired to start livestock farming and so in 2008, the Farmer Angus brand was born.
They farmed beef, pork, chicken and eggs. With no formal training as a farmer Angus sought out the guidance of Christo Kok, a regenerative farmer, who mentored him for the first three years. Angus also devoted much of his time to studying permaculture and chose to apply biodynamic and regenerative farming practices and principles. He is dedicated to reviving the way farming used to be before the days of chemical fertilisers and herbicides like Glyphosate, anti-biotics and GMO.
You are what you eat
Farmer Angus meat is like no other and it has a lot to do with the way Angus raises his animals. The cows eat only grass and are moved to different grazing areas on the farm four times a day; the pigs every four days; the broiler chickens every day; and the Eggmobiles that house the laying hens every day.
Constantly moving them not only prevents overgrazing but also over-fertilisation. Because the manure and urine from the animals is the only fertiliser Angus uses on his pastures, it’s essential it doesn’t become over-saturated. Ten different summer squashes as well as some maize, sweet potatoes and sunflowers have all been planted with great success.
None of Farmer Angus’ meat contains gluten, MSG, GMO, nitrites, nitrates, antibiotics or hormones. You can be sure you are eating a product that is of the earth in its most natural and nutritious state. In conclusion and as Angus says:
“Regenerative artisanal farming is the only future of agriculture as it is the only form of agriculture that provides nourishing food, heals the earth and provides dignified employment.”
For more information go to www.farmerangus.co.za