The Impossible Pasture: Making Meat from Plants while Creating Positive Environmental Impacts
By Grant Estrade, Local Cooling Farms
If I told you that I invented a solar powered, water lubricated machine that harvests and converts plants not suitable for human consumption (grasses and weeds) into highly digestible protein all while fertilizing the field, you would say that’s impossible. Then I would tell you that the machine is also self-replicating. You might think I was crazy, and you would probably scoff.
Of course, things are never perfect, and everything has its limitations. The machine requires water, shade on hot days, preventative maintenance, and fencing so that it does not get hit by a vehicle.
Assuming you were still listening, I would continue, and claim that I discovered a crop that is designed to work with my machine. This crop, if used in conjunction with my machine, would require no tillage, no fertilizer, no pesticides, no herbicides, and no reseeding (it’s a perennial not an annual). The main input would be the machine and farmer’s time and management.
Let’s talk more about this magical crop. When managed with my machine, it harbors life like you wouldn’t believe; the biodiversity can only be rivaled by a coral reef. It prevents erosion, helps build soil, sequesters atmospheric carbon, and allows a farmer to show a profit at the end of the year.
Magical I say, while you may say impossible.
The impossible pasture burger has been here for thousands of years and it didn’t need a laboratory to create. It is meat from ruminant animals — such as cattle, sheep, bison, goat, deer, etc. It was designed instead by nature, each morsel colored, textured and flavored by millions of bites of harvest leaves. There are no hard to pronounce ingredients or genetically modified organisms, and no pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers needed to produce it. And certainly, no need for huge investments from venture capital firms.
As humans we often fall into the trap of wanting the latest and sexiest version of something. It’s my opinion that grazing cattle, sheep, and goats on perennial pasture to produce food for people should get us just as excited.
It’s really simple. When you make a team by combining a farmer, ruminant animals, pasture, and technology you can produce an environmentally enhancing, biodiversity creating, highly nutritious, excellent tasting protein that humans can rely upon all while creating a business for a farmer in an agricultural economy that seems to punish farmers who want to make a living.
Grant M. Estrade, Owner
Laughing Buddha Nursery
Local Cooling Farms
GME Environmental Consulting, Integrated Leadership Training