Southeast Green - Business depends on the environment and the environment depends on business

Organic and Green Ranching with White Oak Pastures

The Harris family has raised cattle on the same Georgia farm for five generations [since 1866].  Will Harris now runs the farm, and has returned the operation to the Grassfed production model that his great-grandfather utilized.  After receiving his Animal Science degree from The University of Georgia, Will returned home to raise calves for long distance shipment to the industrial feedlots where commodity beef is produced.  Confinement feeding of corn and soy, sub-therapeutic usage of antibiotics, and hormone implants were key to this his program.

In 1995 Will began transitioning his operation into the vertically integrated Grassfed Livestock Farm that it is today.  Today cattle, sheep, chickens, and turkeys are rotated through the pastures in the Serengeti Grazing Model.  In 2007 Will built a USDA-inspected, Zero-waste, beef abattoir on the farm.  It is state of the art, one of only two in the entire country, and is operating at its full capacity of  135 head per week.  A Zero-waste poultry abattoir, now under construction, will be operational in August of 2011.  It will be the only place in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, or Tennessee that processes free range poultry.  Over 40% of the energy needs of the plant comes from solar panels.  White Oak Pastures employees 50 non-family members.  [Jenni Harris, the fifth generation of Harris’ on the farm is also employed].

The beef and lamb is Certified Grassfed.  The farm is Certified Organic.  The poultry is step 5 rated by the Global Animal Partnership.  And the processing plant is Animal Welfare Approved.  White Oak Pastures received the Governor’s Award for Environmental Stewardship in 2011 and The University of Georgia’s Award of Excellence in 2008.  Will is the former President of the Board of Directors of Georgia Organics, is the Beef Director of the American Grassfed Association, and was selected 2011 Business Person of the year for Georgia by the SBA.  White Oak Pastures Pastured meats are available in Whole Foods Market stores from Miami, FL to Princeton, NJ.  It is available in Publix Supermarkets in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina.  Buckhead Beef, Halpern’s, and Destiny Organics make this beef available to foodservice throughout the Deep South.


Grow Alabama - Sustainable Agriculture in a modern Way

Meet Jerry Spencer is an passionate man. So it was with a sense of adventure one day that this chiropractor of 20 years--a man who had never in his life grown a single tomato plant much less a garden--dug up his front lawn and planted a vegetable plot far bigger than what would feed his family of eight.

That was 1996. By 1999, after a few years selling surplus veggies to Birmingham restaurants, expanding his garden and adding a flock of laying hens, Jerry enlisted 40 people to join his fledgling Community Supported Agriculture program. By the end of the season, membership had grown to 65 people paying up front for four to 12 months of weekly boxes of in-season vegetables raised at Mt. Laurel Organic Gardens.

Fast-forward another six years to 2004 and Mt. Laurel has enlisted 25 farms to supply produce and meat to 400 members of the CSA renamed Grow Alabama. To coordinate the network of farmers ranging in size from 2 acres to 27 acres, Jerry hired a full-time office staff of about eight people, each equipped with a computer, a desk and a file cabinet. He also has a field crew of three full-time, year-round workers, and hires extra help for peak harvest times.


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