Healthy and Eco-Friendly
Go Natural for Your Holiday Turkey
One way to celebrate the earth’s bounty is to have an eco-conscious main course on Thanksgiving. An Amish or natural-style turkey is raised organically, grass fed, free range, free of steroids, hormones and antibiotics; and from Michigan or the Midwest. Such turkeys feature more environmental and nutritional benefits than the factory farmed turkeys available at most supermarkets in November.
According to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant and advocacy program, the benefits start with what turkeys eat. Manufacturing standardized poultry feed for indoor-housed animals strips nutrients and releases harmful emissions into the atmosphere. However, free range animals do not need fossil fuels to power factory lighting, ventilation and other mechanical systems.
What happens after turkeys eat also matters. Their waste, high in nitrogen, enhances soil fertility for growing crops and grasses for larger livestock to eat. The waste from commercially farmed turkeys tends to be less beneficial when added artificially to soil, contributing contaminating phosphorous and bacteria to watersheds in the form of runoff.
When turkeys are transported within the state and not across the country, and not stored in energy-sucking freezers for months, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
Finally, eating an antibiotic-free turkey helps prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, and naturally healthy poultry is likely to be more nutritious with less fat.
Below is a list of local businesses where you can find natural and/or Amish styled turkeys for your Thanksgiving feast.
• Better Health Markets, located throughout Southeast Michigan
• Lucky's Natural Foods, Lake Orion
• Westwind Farm, Swartz Creek
Order early! Not into meat? Ask about plant-based alternatives.