Having gained momentum on social media, following a post from The Ethical Butcher, ‘Regenuary’ is a new sustainable eating movement, encouraging consumers to eat foods produced according to ‘regenerative’ farming methods for the month of January.
While over a quarter of a million participants are taking part in Veganuary this year, Regenuary urges conscientious consumers to take a different approach to eco-friendly eating, regardless of whether their diets include animal products or not.
While Regenuary isn’t necessarily a direct affront on Veganuary, The Ethical Butcher believes provenance of our food is more crucial than ever. Adopting plant-based diets has its environmental advantages (meat and dairy accounts for 14.5 per cent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions), but the minds behind Regenuary suggest vegan substitutes can involve questionable practices, also arguing that grazing livestock has a role to play in the fight against climate change. Pasture-fed animals require no imported grain, while the land they graze on locks away carbon.
Then there’s the argument that the human diet requires protein and fat – not much of which grows in the UK at this time. Regenuary thus has a heavy focus on the environment and impacts of importing substitutes. Instead, the movement promotes eating foods that are local, seasonable, and farmed using regenerative methods. Meats can still be eaten, but everything needs to meet certain criteria. All produce must have been farmed and produced using regenerative agriculture, must be seasonal, and grown locally. Nothing should be imported.
Regenerative Agriculture is an agricultural system designed to improve biodiversity and restore soil health, as healthy soil stores carbon and helps mitigate flooding. This is achieved through a combination of techniques, including minimising soil disturbance and ensuring earth is covered up with living roots – protecting it from wind and water erosion. Grazing animals play a significant role, trampling roots and providing quality organic matter to nourish the soil.
While regenerative agriculture is still in its infancy in the UK, a number of small-scale procurers are championing regenerative produce. The Ethical Butcher, for instance, offers British beef, lamb, pork, and chicken farmed according to regenerative methods. Elsewhere, Cheyney’s Pastured Poultry offer golden yolk eggs from pasture-raised hens, Taw River Dairy produces Jersey milk from a herd grazed on Devon pastures, and Farrington Oils is a carbon neutral and plastic free ‘seed to bottle’ oil producer offering British alternatives to olive oil.
In a similar vein, Ember Snacks, founded by Harry and Jack Mayhew, have announced the launch of three new charcuterie products, available in Sainsbury’s this month, to move the brand further towards its overall mission of ending factory farming for good, restoring biodiversity to farms. The new product range is 100 percent factory farming free, offering customers complete traceability. The meat is sourced from the best of British farms who in turn are dedicated to limiting their impact on the environment. Like those championing Regenuary, the snacks intend to show that meat does not have to be the enemy if farmed correctly.
The new products include: Cracked Black Pepper Steak Slices, Smoked Paprika Lean Pork Salami, and Wild Venison Slices with all meat sourced from Farm Wilder accredited farms, who champion farmers working towards fully regenerative practices. They source top quality meat that’s reared on home turf. The steak slices use pasture fed organic beef; the salami is made using pork from Dingley Dell farm, a Suffolk-based pig farm well known for producing superb, high welfare pork from their unique Red Duroc herd, committed to farming in harmony with nature and improving the variety of species living in and around the farm each year; and the venison slices are sourced from wild British deer.
On the launch of Ember Snacks’ new product range, founders Harry and Jack Mayhew told The London Economic: “With our new range we not only wanted to make snacks that taste incredible but also that use meat from the very best sources.Our new range still provides a healthy, high protein snacking option with 40 percent less fat and 50 percent more protein than other charcuterie products currently out on the market. There’s even a bit of quinoa in there to replace bad fats.”
“We want to give customers the choice to eat better meat, and finding the right farmers and producers isn’t easy. We are partnered with Farm Wilder, an environmental not-for-profit that works with farms to promote wildlife and biodiversity as well as encourage agro-ecological and regenerative farming methods.
“Our mission is to put an end to factory farming and minimise our impact on the environment. Factory farming gives meat a bad name. It’s a system which ignores animal welfare, destroys nutritional value, and damages the planet through carbon emissions, water pollution and biodiversity loss. All of our sourcing partners for our new range not only lead the way in an alternative to factory farming, but also actively promote farming with wildlife.”