Turkeys and food change

November 24, 2021

If you meet me in person and give me an opening in a conversation, you will probably hear a very passionate explanation about things I feel are broken about our food system. Depending on the day, it may be about the struggles of small farms to negotiate the legislative guidelines in place for the mega farms and corporations that ultimately control most of our food. I may talk about how the relationships between big ag, big food, big chemical and the government are hurting not only our food, but our health, the environment and our economy. I may touch on how in the 1950’s farmers were getting about 50 cents of every dollar spent at the grocery store. Now they are getting less than 15 cents of that dollar. Ultimately no matter what my focus is on any given day, my message will come back to how I believe the only way the system is going to change is from the bottom up. We are small farmers and consumers will have to be the ripple that creates a wave of change. 

Now at this moment, as I’m writing this on the eve of Thanksgiving 2021, you are part of that ripple. Now the audience for my thoughts is very much the people already supporting change by being part of our Sisu Farms community. For that I want to say Thank You!! Thanks for your support of our dream. I know that every personal conversation I have about the mission helps spark new thoughts and awareness. I also know that we need to reach more people. I am putting a focus on writing more and finding other ways to get the message out. I am starting with a series of posts to educate about the current system and what changes I see that need to happen. 

Many of the thoughts I have and the statistics I site came from the book Food Fix by Dr Mark Hyman. If you have not read it I really highly recommend it. 

At this moment I think most of us have turkeys on our mind. They are defrosted, maybe in a brine, getting ready to be the center piece of so many tables tomorrow. It’s also an item that carries one of the biggest price gaps between what you pay in the store and what you’ll pay direct to a farmer, especially if that farmer is pasture raising that turkey, like we do. Much of it comes down to labor and scale. Also the fact that if a grocery store gets you through the door with a .53 cent a pound turkey they’ll also sell you hundred of dollars of the fixings. Even knowing that I can’t quite wrap my head around how they can sell it for that price, but like I’ve said the system is broken.

We belong to a APPPA, the American Pasture Poultry Producers Association. This week one of the members was interviewed by Insider to talk about his operation and the interview touches on the big ag side of turkey production as well. If you have a few minutes I feel it’s worth a watch and to be shared to help get this message out to the masses. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60CQ4WmDLQ

To all of you that are putting one of our turkeys (or ham, chickens, loin roast, etc) at the center of your holiday meal we thank you for including us as part of your celebration. It’s one of the greatest honors to be part of your family gathering for meals, both the day to day and the holidays. If you are one of the many that I had to tell we are sold out of turkeys this year, keep watching your email over the next few weeks we will start to plan our 2022, we are hoping to better match the demand :) 

To anyone reading this, my request to you is find a way, however small to enact change to your food system. Buy from local farmers, ranchers and gardeners around you. Get eggs from your neighbor who has chickens. Start your own window herb garden. Big change will happen when we come together with small steps. 


All the best, Aila


Aila Holley

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