Black Earth Meats, Black Earth, Wis., announced via its Facebook page that it conducted its last slaughter, effective immediately. By the end of July, the meat processor will no longer be open for business (with the exception of cleaning out inventory), and will instead be mired in litigation against the Village of Black Earth for a “public nuisance” filing.
“This affects hundreds of Wisconsin and Driftless Area farmers. It affects the community of Black Earth and its reputation. It affects over 100 restaurants, retailers and farmers market purveyors. It affects all of our employees. It affects the thousands of customers who rely on us for good meat. And, it affects the development of a local food infrastructure and small scale processing,” according to a Facebook post.
“To the residents of Black Earth, I am sorry. This is one price of democracy. The elected board (members of which generally run unopposed) has the power to make this decision on your behalf.
To my employees, I treasure you. I am devastated and will do everything I can to help you find other work. Take the respect and honor you’ve earned here into your next job.
To our customers, please continue to support The Conscious Carnivore (University Avenue). Do not give up on your support of good meat.
To our chefs, distribution partners, retail butchers and farmers marketers, it is up to you to carry on the good work. I hope we have shown that this is possible. Others may come to pick up the pieces. Help them.
This is a tragedy. I am devastated that seven years of work building up a local meats infrastructure is destroyed with this unthinkable act by the Village Board. I am stunned by their actions. More personally, I am concerned for all our business partners and those who support us and them, that it will be much more difficult (and expensive) to get good meat. I am concerned that this will set back the progress made in local food systems in the area. I am concerned that the model we have formed and proven out will not have the chance to duplicate and change the way we grow and distribute food. I am concerned about the food justice issues we’ve raised, about animal welfare and about antibiotics in agriculture. Obviously, many of these passions I can continue to push, but without a proven business showing the way, I will be just another voice in the crowd.
At The Conscious Carnivore, one of our core statements is “Eat Like We’re All Connected.” Now is the time for our community to push forward together. Not out of anger, but with compassion and strength. Do not devolve into negative feelings, but take what we’ve built and know it is possible to create a better food system. Join Slow Food. Join Slow Money. Help the next food entrepreneur, join a CSA, support the local “good food” businesses. Go forward with joy in your heart and grow the community.”