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It was the spring of 2001 when I, Benjamin Fouse, went to volunteer at the Heifer Project International ranch in Perryville Arkansas. Stephanie Houser came around the same time to work on the challenge course. I was in the Maintenance department. The facility was 1,500 acres. There were eight volunteer group houses you could stay in. We helped educate the 30,000 plus people that would come through the facility each year about hunger issues in the USA and abroad.

Stephanie later helped run and facilitate the simulated global village housing where you could spend the night or up to 5 nights in a home that looked like you would find in Africa, Guatemala, or urban slums. People who stayed had the same resources as those in the homeland, if everyone shared there was enough but on its own it would be tough.

We applied for a loan through Heifer International as a “small farms initiative.” We had to write a business plan for our project. At the time we wanted to raise and sell ten pigs. We would sell to the local cafeteria at the ranch and local people. The business at that time was called “Pastured Pork.” After the first year we grew to include goat meat and beef. After that, we included free range poultry. We renamed the business Grassroot Meats. We were part of a CSA, had local drops offs, and were in two stores.

In 2006 we decided to sell our customer list to another business and move to Northern New York, where Stephanie is from. We had looked at going to Montana, where I was from, but land was too expensive, so we decided to go to New York instead. We took our faithful dog Boaz and a loaded stock trailer and started the move. After arriving, Stephanie worked at Beaver Camp, and I worked at Whites Farm Supply. After two years, and the birth of our first child Grace, we decided we should start up Grassroot Meats.

We sold half and whole hogs for a few years, then we added chicken and started processing our own poultry again for ourselves and others. Two years after Grace was born, we had our son Luke. After a lot of looking, we found a nice place on Tug Hill with a little acreage. We slowly fenced it off and added the needed buildings to house our livestock. We have been slowly growing it since.

We now raise 22 pigs a year, 7 beef, 12 lambs, 700 chickens, produce and now Chicken stock, Lard and sprouts. We try to network with other farmers to give a variety to our customers. Our Slogan has always been “Green Pasture Makes Good Meat For Quality Folks.” We believe that by giving the animals their natural habitat they will produce quality healthy meat. We Grass Finish all ruminant animals. The pigs get an acre planted with radish, turnips and vetch where they can use their natural ability to dig with their noses. We have two goats that travel around with steers and lambs for weed control.

We are hoping to add more lamb, beef and goats this year if we can rent more neighboring land. So, in a nutshell, that’s us. We love bringing good food to people. We feel it lives out our values as farmers. I hope you enjoy the pictures.