Farm-to-bowl dog food is gaining popularity among some producers and consumers of petfood looking not only for a healthy option for their pet, but also a way to help the environment by reducing waste on farms.
Two years ago, Jake Dickson, a butcher in New York, New York, USA, began selling premium, locally sourced dog food blended with veggies from a farmers market and leftover meats from his shop. Although the food is "quite expensive," Dickson said about 100 customers per week purchase it.
"For us, it's all about 100 percent utilization of the animal," Dickson said. "If we're going to slaughter it, we want to use every part. And second, if we use every part, we're more profitable as a company."
The trend in sustainable petfood has also led some to set up subscription-based "doggie CSAs," or community-supported agriculture.
One such doggie CSA is run by Dennis Adams and his wife, who live near Columbus, Ohio, USA, and raise free-range sheep, alpaca and chickens at Cota Farms. Adams grinds up the leftover meat after it's processed and sells it as raw dog food at local farmers markets. Adams now has 50 subscribers to his CSA, and he has even recruited other ranchers and farmers in the area to sell their meat.
"This is premium, organic meat," Adams said. "Dogs are lucky to get it."
Another doggie CSA is operated by Tasha Ardalan in San Diego, California, USA. Ardalan collects the season's leftover fruits and vegetables from local farmers, who would otherwise just throw them out. "The farmers love it," she said.
Ardalan mixes the produce with meats from local ranchers and sells the raw, organic dog food patties for about US$4 per pound to subscribers of her CSA, Foxy Treats. Ardalan says she consults with local veterinarians to formulate the recipes. "Some customers are a bit skittish about the food being raw," she said. "So I just tell them to bake it."
We asked Carol Jones-Adams, who founded and runs functional treat maker Overby Farm with her husband and business partner, Bob Adams, to tell us more about her company
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For more about sustainability in petfood, watch Jan Hoijtink's Petfood Forum 2010 PowerPoint, "Corporate social responsibility: from whim to a matter of strategy."
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