Respect of Life
A fundamental respect for the life
The decision to eat meat is one that forces each of us to make moral choices. We will never try to convert or persuade those who are fundamentally opposed to the consumption of meat, and we respect the decision of those people to make that choice. At Garlic Wood we want to give people the information that will allow them to follow a conscientious and informed meat-eating diet. As an ethical butcher our commitment is to follow a comprehensive set of clearly defined principles by which we source, market and distribute meat.
At its core we want our ethos to encompass a fundamental respect for the life of the livestock we work with. This covers everything from on-farm animal welfare, a commitment to free-range, grass-fed, and natural rearing systems right through to minimal transportation and local slaughter.
We work with farmers who embrace slower-grown native livestock breeds, and who follow the highest standards of animal husbandry. We want to see an end to the damaging practices of industrial farming such as farrowing crates for pigs and factory-farm indoor ‘production units’.
Transparency and scrutiny
We have direct relationships with the vast majority of the farmers we work with. We have chosen to work with them because we have taken the time to meet them. We have taken the time to ensure that we understand and agree with their welfare practices and farming beliefs. All of our partner farmers accept, and welcome, questions and scrutiny. They are proud of what they do and they share our belief that respect for the life and welfare of the animals they rear is a fundamental principle of ethical food production.
In addition to animal welfare we believe this commitment to respect should run through every aspect of the business – including towards the people we work with. As an ethical business we are committed to the fair treatment of all suppliers, farmers and partner businesses. We are an approved Living Wage employer and are committed to guaranteeing a safe working environment, fair pay and conditions.
Farming for nature
Our food choices are an incredibly powerful force for environmental change. How we choose to feed ourselves can have the potential to make enormous environmental impacts. Industrially farmed livestock have had a devastating effect on our environment – contributing to habitat loss, plummeting biodiversity and climate change. Too often though we focus on what we shouldn’t be doing. We can feel powerless to make changes because the scale of the problem feels overwhelming, and the options for positive change seem limited.
We believe this doesn’t need to be the case. There is an emerging movement of farmers dedicated to managing their land and producing food in a way that not only minimises environmental damage, but actively encourages regeneration. They understand their vital role as conservers and preservers of the landscape. They are engaged by the awareness that they can farm in a way that increases biodiversity, improves soil health, and encourages nature to flourish.
We believe this growing movement towards regenerative agriculture is incredibly exciting. It gives each of us the power to make small-scale, defineable choices about what sort of food production system we want to support. It is environmental activism in action.
Supporting regenerative farming
At Garlic Wood we see our role as giving regenerative and nature-friendly farmers the support they need to make their efforts pay. We source from small-scale producers who are committed to farming in harmony with the natural world, and we are committed to paying them a fair price to support the work they are doing. We want to showcase not only their fantastic produce but also the crucial environmental work our best farmers are involved in.
A viable food system focused on ethical production and regenerative agriculture benefits everyone in society. By choosing to support the best nature-friendly farmers we can all make a positive contribution towards halting, and reversing, the environmental damage of our industrial food system.
Heritage and Quality
Our place in the landscape
It sounds like an obvious thing to say, but the food we eat comes from the landscape in which we live. If we want to build a more ethical food system it is crucial that we always come back to an awareness that people, nature, food and the rural landscape are not separate, but an interconnected whole.
We live in a society where our place in the environment and our direct link with the food we produce has been broken. At Garlic Wood we believe this can change. We believe that our link with nature can be re-established. What’s more we believe that by working to make this change we can play our own small part in creating a food system where ethical production and respect for nature can go hand-in-hand with a love of producing high quality food.
Building an ethical food network
We are blessed with a landscape that sustains and provides for us. We are surrounded by incredible food being produced by small-scale farmers who cherish their role as privileged custodians of the land and its wildlife. By supporting the best of these farmers we can create a food system that rewards their efforts and encourages others to join the movement. These farmers understand their land. They work with native and traditional livestock breeds that are suited to the needs of the landscape. They employ and support local people who share this connection.
It doesn’t stop with the farmers though. We we can support every link in the ethical food chain by ensuring we work with the best local abattoirs, food retailers and suppliers. We play our own part by putting ourselves at the heart of the regional food economy in which we operate. We embrace the opportunities technology affords us in selling our produce online, but we never forget our own geographical connection. There are passionate and dedicated nature-friendly farmers across all of our country but we choose to support those around us and to play our role in creating a viable ethical food network in our region.
Ultimately a strong network of local businesses with a direct link to their landscape is the best way to counter the devastating impact of industrial farming and the commoditisation of food. If we keep the values of heritage and small-scale artisan production at the heart of everything we do we can re-build our link with the landscape.