At Whole Foods Market®, we are passionate about our food, our community, and our environment. Just recently, we added a core value to our company mission: practicing and advancing environmental stewardship. So last week when I found out that one of our local beef producers won a Regional Environmental Stewardship award I was super excited to find out more.
Mountain Meadows Farm, owned by Dr. Amiel Cooper and managed by Brian Kemp, is located in Vermont’s Champlain Valley. The farm runs approximately 365 cow-calf pairs on approximately 3,000 acres of pasture and cropland.While Mountain Meadows started off in 1996 as a small operation with about 20 head of cattle, the turning point came when Dr. Cooper, a retired pathologist, met Brian Kemp. Together, Amiel and Brian worked on growing the Charolais-Angus herd and taking care of the land to provide an outstanding organic beef program.
“We have always strived to be good care-takers of our land and animals and our relationships with the Vermont Organic Farmers and Whole Foods Market spurred us on to go the extra mile,” explains Amiel. “Over the last six years we have fenced 10 miles of waterways that feed into Lake Champlain to stop cattle from polluting the water and damaging delicate riparian ecosystems; we’ve fenced woodlands and planted over 16,500 trees in 86 acres; we rotate cattle through pastures carefully, allowing pastures to recover between grazing; we use an artesianal well powered by solar panels as a source of water for our cattle; and we’ve utilized composted manure to improve soil fertility.”
This year Amiel and Brian were recognized for their stewardship practices and awarded the 2013 regional Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP). They will compete with six other regional winners for the national ESAP award early next year in Nashville, Tennessee.Amiel describes “we’ve taken great measures to maintain the water purity of Lake Champlain and the waterways that make their way through the farm and into the lake. This award is one of the most exciting things to happen to me professionally in my career.” Brian also mirrors that sentiment “It means an awful lot — the most important element to farming is the environment and we’ve worked with many folks over the last few years to be successful and be the best stewards of the land we can be.”
At Whole Foods Market we are also very proud of their achievement so next time you are in the store be sure to check out Mountain Meadows beef and wish them the best for the national competition!
Mountain Meadows beef is available at the following stores: