Crowdfunding a cow is good for cows and customers, write Joris Lohman and Marjolein van Vucht.
Now that consumer confidence is waning and the ‘more is better’ agricultural philosophy is on the way out, entrepreneurs are taking things into their own hands. A farmer who opens a Juice & Salad bar is not unusual, and there’s even the odd crowdfunding butcher.
MRIJ COW NR 2438, Baambrugge. Comes in 10 kilo packages. Is grazing away peacefully as we speak. 69% of her has been sold already. Would you like some too? Then she’ll be for the chop soon. Crowdbutchering is the name of this type of trade in which clients order 7 or 10 kilo packages of meat online.
Crowdfunding butchers. It sound weird but it isn’t. It’s nothing more than a clever, personalised way of selling meat. Every butcher chops up cows. But instead of selling the animal bit by bit, the crowdfunding butcher won’t slaughter the cow until he is sure he can sell the whole beast. Until then the animal is left to graze and chew the cud in its favourite corner on the farm.
The main advantage doesn’t lie in the amount of meat produced but in the shortening of the trade and supply chain which will make producers less vulnerable to the pressure on price exerted by the supermarkets. As Belgian website deeleenkoe.be (share a cow, DN) calls it: Fair trade, but on our doorstep. And the animal will be completely processed into prime cuts, minced meat and sausages.
It’s not only butchers, farmers and cows who profit from this sort of trade. The consumer likes it, too. Deeleenkoe.be says 90% of customers come back for more packages of crowdfunded cow.
Taking everything into account this is a happy story, from happy cow to happy consumer. Nothing goes to waste and prices are reasonable. Good. Small scale. It’s not going to help the Netherlands hold on to its status as a world agricultural player in a time when people are crying out for a self-sufficient agriculture, but it could lead to new ideas. And we’re not talking about crowdfunded chickens or crowdfunded pigs but about shorter trade and supply chains and personalised food.
Perhaps we’ll become a bit more conscious about how we look at the stuff. By all means, let’s eat Flappie the rabbit at Christmas, and Berta in the months after that. Let children know that it’s a real animal they’re eating, and that this animal was alive and perhaps had a name.
It might get rid of some of the hypocrisy surrounding food. And perhaps we’ll learn to pay a realistic price for it as well.
Joris Lohman en Marjolein van Vucht are part of the Youth Food Movement (YFM)
This article appeared earlier in Trouw
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