The animals they raise at Brass Bell Farm stay on the island from the beginning of their life until the end. Rowse-Robinson says, “You have cows on the land eating what they’re meant to be eating. There are no inputs. You could have your cow in your field. They have a calf. That calf lives there for its life, and it goes here on the island to our closest abattoir which is about an hour and a half away. It stays on the island to be butchered, and then it comes back and feeds the people in your community.” The slow-meat model that Rowse-Robinson follows includes ethical consumption and reducing food miles. The goal is to have meat go through the natural cycles of animal growth and enjoy the progression of the animal’s life from field to plate. With natural grazing cycles, biodiversity is promoted. Rowse-Robinson says, “By grazing cattle the way we do, it leaves that land accessible to deer, birds, and all kinds of other wild animals.” She continues, “We’re looking at what’s already there, what’s happening on the land, and how our animals can best compliment that. It’s about facilitating this natural relationship that is as old as time, ruminants eating grass.”
There are challenges of embracing the ethics and values that you want to as a farmer and also running a profitable business. Rowse-Robinson says, “To stay farming and make slow meat accessible, you have to be able to keep your business going.” It can be difficult to work on such a small scale, feed the community, and be a profitable farm. The relationship between consumers and producers makes it worth it for farmers. With the support of eaters, small-scale farmers thrive in their communities. There are several ways to support small-scale farmers beyond just buying their products. Rowse-Robinson says, “Share their Instagram posts, share their sales, share something about their farm that you love, help them stay in business.” Brass Bell Farm loves to feed their community and hopes to continue to grow and produce meat for their customers year after year. They truly understand the benefit of slow meat and continue to work with their community to make this type of farming possible.