The American Food Desert
-A foodshed renaissance
As I drove across the southern US this past month on my Texas to Tennessee Barn Raising Tour I drove through many small towns in over 13 states. The one thing I noticed that was in plain sight was that most people in rural and urban America are living in a food desert and they do not even realize it nor do they know how to escape.
When I say “food desert” what I mean is that the market access to pure and nutritional food has been choked out of these communities and quite often there are only one or two options for a person to source their food for themselves and their family. Children, of course, are those who are most affected by this modern-day nutritional starvation that is beginning to sweep across the world. This is flat-out destroying our nation. It can not be denied nor debated any longer.
an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
"many poor people live in food deserts—where they have plenty of food but none of it healthy"
I had many hours to reflect during my 7800-mile journey that took place this past 45 days in all. I toured Texas and Tennessee extensively. I will be writing and speaking of this journey for the rest of the summer and into the fall as we gear up to hold more conferences and expand our Texas stronghold and build out across the nation and the world.
My thoughts brought me back to last September. I had returned from harvest and my dad and I went down to the county square in Canyon, Texas. The weekend farmers market was in full force and I told my dad I wanted to go see if we could find a local rancher/producer. I told him, “I have an idea.”
This idea was going to be called the “Beef Initiative” but I needed to first go out and study and research the county in which I grew up and there is no better place than Randall County in the Texas Panhandle.
Within 5 minutes of walking around the courthouse, I saw Justin Trammell standing behind his table and his booth and he had a sign that listed all of his offerings. Fowl, lamb, hog, and BEEF.
I went straight up to him and reached out my hand and said “Hey, my name is Slim and I want to know more about what you do, and I want to know where you come from and why you do what you do.”
Justin shook my hand just like a rancher, producer, grass farmer should and he cracked a big smile and with a shy but confident laugh, he said, “well, where should I start?” I said, “I was born right over there.” I pointed over my shoulder to a parking lot, where the clinic used to be and said “let’s start from the beginning.”
What I meant is that I wanted to talk about our community and I wanted to talk about its history of our place in it.
The conversation took off from there and I can remember clearly as day what Justin said next.
“This community ships all of its food in from over hundreds of miles.”
Now understand, that this is a farming and ranching community that has its roots firmly established in this fact. It was part of one of the first cattle drives that were used to drive cattle from Texas to the rest of the nation as Texas began to feed a nation back in the 1880s. It was a community that never had any problems feeding itself, let alone having to ship its food supply in from 100s of miles away.
Justin Trammel, his father Donnie, and their families have been on a mission to change this and they have been working for years to become a local source of pure animal protein and of pure local produce and goods.
They are succeeding and they are doing it with class, style, and integrity. They are doing it with grit and determination. They are setting a new standard on local food sourcing and it is catching on across the country in many places. The general public does not know of these accomplishments and of the actions that are taking place. Mostly because they only have access to information that is controlled by centralized media and big tech social media platforms that restrict the free flow of information and of market access. Most people in regenerative farming and ranching have to rely on social media which does not allow them to have a voice, nor a way to sell their goods and services. They are usually restricted to trying to sell at farmer's markets and certain local, and regional functions that go mostly unnoticed.
For The last 10 months, Justin and I have established a great relationship and we have tried to speak at least once a week. We do our best to keep each other informed and as I travel across the country and build out the infrastructure of the Beef Initiative we are orchestrating and building a case study on how local communities are fighting back and how they are establishing a new consumer demand that everyone can engineer and be a part of. We are creating a case study that is scalable across the globe. We are helping each other feed a nation by first feeding our local community.
The one thing about Justin and his protocol is that it is unique, it is his. His family and ancestors have always been farmers, he can trace his lineage all the way back to Europe and all of his family tree comes from farming and ranching. He and his dad have kept that legacy and tradition moving forward and they are defending a way of life and a heritage that is being robbed from the American citizen and from our children.
At times I feel bad that I can not signal out more information about all of the accomplishments that Justin and his father have achieved. Right, when I got back to Texas I went out and touched base with Justin and sourced 18lbs of ground beef. What I saw was amazing. The way in which they have built out Panhandle Meats is a work of art.
As you can see in the pictures it is welcoming. Not flashy but is inviting and makes you feel like you are at home.
If you have ever walked into a foodshed you know what I mean. You step inside into the past, and when you do, you enter into this world that is being stolen. You get a sense of excitement, you feel like you have options and your pace slows down and you take the time to observe and see what is around you and what is right in front of you.
The pictures in this article are warm and inviting. They are not filled with overwhelming labeling and cartoon pictures on cardboard boxes and they do not use words that are deceptive. They just present the product as is and you know you can have confidence that you are sourcing something that your grandparents pioneered in many ways. It is a lifestyle that I yearn for and that I have dedicated my life to bringing back. It is the first principle and pragmatic way of living that is in all actuality mandatory for strong individuals to focus on and move forward with. The random consumption and random sourcing of food currently have now become a health hazard in the United States of America. This can not be argued and it has now become a form of information warfare that is part of the major global industrial food shift that is happening in 2022 and is going to ramp up in 2023.
Most of you have read my Harvest of Deception article that I first wrote last year. If you go back and read the articles that I have since released you can see the pattern and the actions that the industrial food complex has planned and are now implemented in society. The war on beef, the changes in the chemicals they are injecting into the food supply, and the labeling laws that are nothing more than lies on a box.
When I speak to people I tell them that we are going through a major “Industrial Food Shift.”
What does this mean?
It means that they are stacking a new layer of fake commodities on the existing layer that the chemical companies and big Ag have been engineering for the last 50yrs at. It means that market access and consumption models are being shifted into a global centralized control group.
The major food corporations are creating a “One World Food Group.” They have been working on this shift for decades. The last major consolidation of the global corporate food industry happened in 2017-2018. The plan is moving forward and the contracts have been signed by the corporations and all the governments that are part of this shift. There is no stopping it, there is a vast amount of capital behind it and we the consumer have very little control over understanding the true plans. It is daunting and it can be overwhelming but it does not have to be. We have solutions, we have plans, and we have proof of work. You just need to know where to start. You need to get to the Source of the Seed of the issues and of the solutions.
Let me introduce The Ogallala Commons. This non-profit organization is one of the places in which Justin got his start beyond his own family’s heritage and vast education and wisdom.
A little about OC:
Ogallala Commons, Inc., is a 501(c)3 nonprofit education and leadership organization that reinvigorates the commonwealth to build vibrant Great Plains communities.
Ogallala Commons is governed by a 9-member Board of Directors and managed by a small team of Staff Contractors—leaders who share a vision and work collaboratively to carry out our organization’s mission.
One of the key components and actions that OC does is rebuilding local food systems.
A quick summary from their site:
REBUILDING LOCAL FOOD SYSTEMS
Communities that are vibrant have more than a strong economy and good infrastructure. They also require local food systems that provide fresh, healthy, nutrient-dense food that is accessible and affordable for residents. Since 2005, Ogallala Commons has conducted Local Food Summits to educate the public and provide resources about food system resilience. Our master plan for our vast region is illustrated in this Emerging Foodsheds Map.
It is an ongoing and never-ending project that is being built by one producer at a time. One community at a time. One person’s consumer demand at a time.
Personally, I feel like most of us, including me, have lost sight and have been detached from how things get accomplished when we are creating and engineering change. We have this worldview that overwhelms us and we feel like it has to be the same for everyone, it is required to please the masses across the board. This simply is not the case and has mentally and physically handcuffed our intentions and our perspectives.
Let me reset your perspective real quick. Justin Trammel and his family are salt-of-the-earth type of people. They believe inTexas, God, and America. Most importantly and above all else they believe in their local community. They have the ability to shut out all of the noise that is being broadcast into everyone’s audio and video consumption models. They are grounded and they are built on grit and determination.
Not only are Justin and his father Donnie animal producers and grass farmers. They are cattlemen and they are now successful and certified animal processors of fowl, hog, lamb, and sheep. They have vertically integrated their whole business model into a system that they control. The last several years have been extremely difficult for them in many ways. They have had to overcome financial hurdles, regulatory capture, and certain rules and restrictions from federal, state, and local jurisdictions. Justin has had to become both a student again and an educator all in one. He had to sit down and figure out how to become a local processor and he needed to find a way to overcome a system that restricts our farmers and ranchers to be able to be more sovereign and independent just like our grandparents were and how we see the future will be for our children.
He had to go through two different state inspection cycles to open up Panhandle Meats Processing. He had to use the assistance of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. They had to work with certain banking restrictions, they had to overcome the ignorance and certain practices that are common with local and statewide bureaucratic processes. They overcame and now they are moving forward with determination and success. They did not give up. They leveraged their wisdom, hard work ethic, and faith in ways that are required to develop personal freedoms that we are all striving for.
What have Justin and Donnie accomplished? I will give you a shortlist and hear me, this is just a short list of what they are providing the local community.
They have successfully
-Opened up new market access to animal protein.
-Overcome regulatory capture that most producers do not have the ability to navigate.
-They steward land and livestock across the Texas Panhandle and New Mexico.
-Employing a new local workforce.
-Becoming educators and leaders.
-Building out a new network of local producers and providers.
-Developed a new awareness of consumer demand.
-Feeding local families.
-Providing processing for local ranchers and producers.
-Created a new pillar of strength and of revenue for their business model.
-Set a precedent in the state of Texas in producing and processing.
-Developed strong relationships with the Texas Legislative branch and certain lawmakers.
-They are building a decentralized food source apparatus that has a target radius of 60 miles.
The list is growing and like I said this is just a short summary. I will of course in the future build on this article and keep you updated. I would hope that those of you reading this will reach out to Justin and his father and ask questions and get to know them. If you have the ability to shake their hand, look them in the eye and ask them to tell you more, find out how they do what they do, then ask them how you can help them and see if they have a certain cut of beef or animal protein you would like to purchase.
The biggest “unknown” that the general public has when it comes to change and moving forward is that YOU the consumer are the solution. The solution to our problems does not reside in expecting others to fix our problems as individuals and as a nation. It is 100% your responsibility to create a new consumer demand that is not built and followed through by complacent behavior that is set by an overwhelming need and expectation of convenience.
Convenience and solid nutrition should never be said in the same sentence or should be expected. This is a product and mindset that has been socially engineered into our consumption models and into our lives.
-sometimes the only market access to food in small-town America
Our children are the biggest victims of this complacency. I say it again as I do many times over, this is not a judgment but an observation. I am very good at observational science and I am here to tell you what I witnessed these past 45 days: a new layer of poverty is stacked on top of the several layers of poverty that this nation is suffering from as a whole. Most people do not see it because they do not travel through the backroads of this nation as I have done and will continue to do.
“Poverty is nutritional starvation and nutritional starvation is poverty.”
It is time to re-educate ourselves, it is time to step it up. It is time to search and find the Justin & Donnie’s of your local community. It is time to re-engineer your actions and intentions when it comes to feeding your body, mind, and spirit. We as a nation and as a world are suffering from nutritional starvation that the world has never seen. The most difficult part of that statement is that many people do not have the mental clarity to understand the true significance of what I am saying.
We are living in a cloud of dulled thought, a brain fog that is the effect of a lack of true nutrition in our brains. One of the reasons we did the bone broth challenge was to get people to understand that there is a need for a higher level of mental clarity. That mental clarity comes from a consumption model that included knowing and supporting people like Justin and Donnie. It means forming new relationships with the people that actually live to feed you. It starts with scaling your desires down to a more focused nutrition model that is not engineered by a chemical company that controls everything that you eat.
Is this a hard shift? No, it is not. It is a change of lifestyle that you will cherish and one that you will protect more than just filling up your freezer and shelves with cardboard and plastic-wrapped meat products that you have no idea where they came from.
As you enter the property at Panhandle Meats you see and feel the environment that surrounds the success they have created. You smell the smell of living and of the animals themselves. You can see the sheep, fowl, hogs, and cattle. You can feel a sense of closeness to the environment that the supermarket will never give you. You know you are in the right place.
Why are people so detached from food and knowing where it comes from? There are many reasons for this. One of the biggest reasons is that we are living in an age of controlled information that does not give us access to the truth in many ways. We are living in a time when too much knowledge allows too much power to strong individuals. Getting to know your local rancher/producer/grass farmer/farmer is one of the biggest power moves you can do in your life right now.
I saw a tweet the other day on my Twitter feed. It said something to the likes of this.
“The local rancher/producer will be the cornerstone to every community moving forward.”
How true this is and what a wonderful feeling it is to know people like the Trammell's. They are quickly becoming the cornerstone of the community in which I was born and raised and I am extremely proud and honored to know them and to be working with them moving forward into this next decade. We are gaining strength and we are gaining momentum in the Beef Initiative and in our local communities. It is only possible with one producer, animal, processor, and consumer at a time.
Thank you Justin and Donnie and to the Ogallala Commons for everything you are doing and the strength and grit you present and offer up each day you put those boots on and step forward with faith and integrity.
The Colorado Beef Initiative Conference is fast approaching and our speaker list has grown and is becoming the destination spot you need to point your compass and intention. We are putting together a 3-day conference that in all honesty, I have not seen. From the scenery to the education you will receive, there is no other place I would want to be in July. The experience and the price point can not be matched. Our conference is hosted by Jason Wrich of Wrich Ranches
Check out our speaker list and schedule below, do not wait any longer to get your tickets now
Let me tell you something. You want to see some innovation and progress. Let’s take a look at Cole and K&C Cattle. Cole just announced last week the opening of his new processing plant that will be in Luling, Texas just south of Austin, Texas.
Hometown Meats will now be serving central and south Texas as a new processing plant option and opportunity for several local producers. Cole is building out the plant and at the same time bringing awareness to that vertical integration of the Texas Beef Industry that we are all needing and now can rely on. On Thursday I will be releasing an extensive article that is solely based on Cole, his journey, and the partnership we have established with the Beef Initiative.
K&C Cattle is the Beef Initiative’s sole beef supplier for the Beef Boxes we are selling through our platform.
We will begin to increase our marketing efforts and of course, our volume and capacity will be growing tenfold. Go source your next Beef Box through the platform. If you want more variety or if you want to source a ¼, ½, or full beef then move forward and contact Cole through his website or just reach out to him and discuss. I will be providing all purchasing options and ways to source your beef in this coming article.
At this time I’ve exceeded my word count on this article. More on Thursday, stay tuned.