We at Animal Welfare Approved are privileged to work with some of the most amazing farmers in the world. They are leading the transition back to pasture-based farming, and pioneering a new agriculture that seeks to heal our planet while providing healthy, nutritious food to all. This year, as you prepare for a holiday that celebrates the bountiful harvest farmers have provided, we ask you to take a moment to thank a family farmer for the good food that nourishes you. Join us in celebrating National Farm-City Week by using the comments section of this blog to tell us about the farms that will fill your Thanksgiving table this holiday season and throughout the year, and why they matter to you. Take a moment to write a few words of thanks to your neighbor farmers, farmers from your farmer’s market, your CSA provider, and any family farmer you appreciate.
Lesley and Josh Douglass began farming in central Florida in 2015, and they now raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) pigs and laying hens at Heritage Hilltop Farm in Weirsdale. “Our property used to be all citrus groves,” says Lesley. “We have 10 acres of cleared pasture. Our farm sits on top of a hill overlooking other farms on our rural dirt road.”
The Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pigs at Heritage Hilltop Farm are raised outdoors on pasture or range, where they are free to root and forage as pigs naturally do. This high-welfare management is a fundamental component of AGW certification and is known to have environmental, nutritional and culinary benefits.
Lesley and Josh also manage a flock of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW laying hens. Pasture-based management not only provides the highest welfare conditions for the hens, but also produces healthier eggs containing three times as much vitamin E, seven times more beta-carotene and twice the omega-3 fatty acids as industrial eggs. “We believe in giving our animals the best possible life!” explains Lesley. “We raise our pigs and laying hens on pasture as naturally as possible. Pasture-raised animals can roam freely in their natural environment where they can forage grasses, plants and insects. This improves the welfare of our animals, and our eggs and pork are tastier and more nutritious than conventional factory farmed products. When the animals are raised on pasture with the ability to roam freely, we have better results in their eggs and meat.”
The Douglass family chose to pursue AGW certification because of the program’s mission and principles. “We love what this program is all about,” says Lesley. In the future, the family has goals to become as self-sufficient as possible, feeding their family and community from food produced on the farm.
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW pasture-raised chicken eggs and pork are available directly from the farm. For more information about Heritage Hilltop Farm, visit heritagehilltopfar.wixsite.com/website and contact Lesley Douglass at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-485-6363. Follow the farm on Facebook.