TO START CROWDBUTCHING IN DEVON
This month’s food news and finds
We’ve all heard of crowdfunding, but how about crowdbutching? Rob Cotton is one of a new breed of livestock farmers who are taking a different approach to selling their produce.
The idea behind crowdbutching is that customers select one of Rob’s cows online through the Buyacow website, and commit to buying a share (roughly 3%).
When enough people have invested the animal is transported to an artisan butcher where the meat is matured for three weeks before individual cuts are delivered direct to each customer.
Rob has a 1,800 acre farm at Mamhead and farming has been in his family for generations. Together with his brother Matt he is responsible for about 450 cattle and 1,000 sheep.
Rob says: “Only when the entire cow has been bought does it go to the butcher. So, unlike the supermarkets and traditional butchers, there’s no unwanted beef to dispose of.
“What’s more, the entire cow is used. Everything is sold, from nose to tail. Even the hide and bones are repurposed, and it’s a genuinely sustainable way to buy meat.”
He adds: “I partnered with Buyacow because I wanted to find a way of connecting what we’re doing more directly to the consumer – without the need for a middle man.
“Buyacow offer a unique service that brings lots of strangers together to buy a single cow. This process gives people a greater understanding of exactly where each animal was reared and what kind of life it had. It’s just a great way of purchasing high-quality meat.
“Our cows are pasture-based, so they stay out on the grass for as long as possible. I think that’s the most sustainable way of farming beef. The cows enjoy plenty of fresh air and sunshine, as nature intended, with no stress on the animal.”