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From Cattle Farming to Organic, Vegan Produce

From Cattle Farming to Organic, Vegan Produce

15th February 2021
By: Justine - F&F

Imagine the only thing you know in life is how to run your family farm. The farm, business and land have been passed down for generations, but suddenly you don't feel at ease with what you're doing. For long time vegetarian, Jay Wilde, this was the exact realisation he had. 

This short 15 min doco, tells the lovely story of two farmers that flipped their cattle farm to a sustainable, organic produce farm. 73 Cows is a British short film that won a BAFTA in 2019 that we watched last night and couldn't stop thinking about, so why not share it all with you? 

Jay Wilde - 73 Cows short filmJay Wilde - 73 Cows short film

Jay Wilde

After Jay's father passed away, he no longer felt the need to carry on with the family legacy and began to feel conscious of the fact that the animals he was farming had feelings which lead to feelings of unease about eating them once he raised them.

"You realise that they do have personalities, they experience the world. They're not just robots that eat and sleep. I couldn't disconnect that feeling of having to get the job done, from the fact that they were individuals rather than just units of production, more than a number."

Jay felt he was betraying the animals after making friends with them because in the end, getting the job done meant packing them up in a truck and sending them off to a terrifying experience — something Jay describes as 'soul-destroying'. 

Katja Wilde - 73 Cows Short FilmKatja Wilde - 73 Cows Short Film

Katja Wilde

Katja came to work on the farm in 2006, as a student on an assignment to learn English. Her intention from the very beginning was to change the farm to something that didn't involve cruelty. 

She played a crucial role in making Jay's dream of transitioning away from cattle farming come true. After hearing Jay's distress in not wanting to continue the family business, her goal was to never have to send another one of their animals to the abattoir. 

"You know what you're doing and it's horrible. It became clear that we really had to find a solution, to keep the farm and the wildlife and get out of cattle farming."

 

Hard decisions

At the beginning of their journey, they had lots of ideas of what they could do to be better farmers. 

Giving up the revenue that they would have made selling their cows to abattoirs, was a good chunk of money, about 50,000 £ to be exact. They still needed to pay the bills. 

They considered selling up the land for housing developments, but this just didn't seem like the right decision.

They installed a small number of solar panels as an effort to offset the environmental impact they had with their farming, but again, this didn't seem like the silver bullet either. 

Making the switch to farming plants

Once Jay & Katja made the decision to stop farming cattle, they sought professional advice on how they could redesign their farm and produce vegan, organic agriculture without the help of animals. 

Of course, they needed to ensure their new business was profitable and sustainable. 

They also had the task of rehoming their whole herd of cattle, but thankfully they found the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk that took them all in, allowing cows and calves to stay together. 

From Dairy Milk to Oat Mylk

The Bradley Nook farm was originally a dairy, but Jay and Katja have now taken to producing plant-based oat mylk and in December 2020 made their first batch available to the public.

If you live in the UK Midlands, you can subscribe to their farm-fresh oat milk at app.refarmd.com, which of course come in refillable glass bottles! 

If you loved this story, you can check out the 15-minute short film below and feel as inspired as we did. Share away! 

 

Bradley Nook Farm isn't the only farm that's transitioned away from cattle farming, so if you're feeling inspired, you can read more stories like this one here.

If you liked this blog, you might like our other Eco News blogs:

ACT To Give Rebates For Electric Cars

Does Your Council Provide Rebates For Eco Friendly Products?

Three Reasons to Go Vegan

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