Keeping It Local at Big Bend and 270!Navigation
Local Harvest’s Featured Vendor
17 May 2013
Kirsten Knutson of PATCHWORK FAMILY FARMS
LH: What is Patchwork Family Farms, and what needs were you addressing when you founded the business?
KK: This year Patchwork Family Farms is celebrating 20 years of providing sustainably raised family farm pork to consumers! We are proud to have been a leader in what proved to be the beginning of a very successful local food movement. Thanks to the commitment of our great customers, like Local Harvest, Patchwork continues to grow every year.
Patchwork Family Farms is a cooperative effort made up of independent family hog farmers who are committed to providing consumers with high quality pork raised the traditional way. Our producers take great care in producing pork using sustainable growing standards, and in return they get paid a fair price for their hogs.
Patchwork Family Farms is a project of the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, which is a statewide farm and rural membership organization that works to preserve family farms, prevent environmental degradation, support economic opportunity, and encourage efforts that promote stewardship of the land and a safe, affordable high-quality food supply.
In 1993, our members saw that independent hog farmers were struggling because of lack of markets and prices that were well below the cost of production. We created Patchwork as a way to keep independent hog producers on the land and to provide an alternative to the unsustainable corporate produced pork raised in factory farms.
KK: Patchwork producers came up with the name Patchwork, because they knew that, just like a Patchwork quilt, their piece alone might not be big enough to make a difference, but by coming together, their small patch could help make make something bigger–like a patchwork quilt. This is also why our motto is “Working Together to Make a Difference.”
LH: Do you distribute any other products besides pork? Surely these independent farms are producing other goods.
KK: Up to this point, we have only focused on pork. For the most part, however, our producers have diversified farming operations that include livestock, row crops, pasture and hay.
LH: What is the most significant quality of the pork you sell? How do you regulate & maintain these standards?
KK: Patchwork producers, who range from young farmers to multi-generational producers, raise their hogs using traditional sustainable growing standards. Our producers sign a production agreement and we visit the farms to learn more about their farming operations and to share their production practices and ideas with other producers.
Our standards include:
* Growth hormones or synthetic growth promoters are prohibited.
* No sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics.
* Animals must receive adequate amounts of sunshine, fresh air and quality feed necessary to maintain good health.
* Animals are raised with social responsibility, using environmental stewardship and sustainable growing practices.
LH: What kinds of customers do you serve—restaurants, groceries, individuals? All local?
KK: Patchwork sells to restaurants and grocery stores in Columbia and St Louis, and also directly to consumers, both at our office in Columbia and by mail order.
LH: What is your favorite local product (besides your own, of course)?
KK: We love all restaurants that serve local, tasty and healthy local food!
LH: Why should people buy local?
KK: Buying local is good for the economy, good for family farmers, good for the environment and good for consumers.
For direct inquires about Patchwork Family Farms, please contact:
a: 1108 Rangeline St., Columbia, MO