October 13, 2022
Reaching the NEXTY Award finals is a major accomplishment, as about 12% of the hundreds of nominated brands made the cut for the Natural Products Expo East competition. It's even more rare that a first-time nominee becomes a winner, but a handful did this season. New Hope Network writers spoke with these honorees to share their stories before the awards were announced in September. This first-time finalist, Pasturebird, won the NEXTY Award for Best New Meat, Dairy or Animal-Based Product.
Free range. Cage free. Corn finished. With so many labels in the chicken market, how is a conscious shopper supposed to choose the "right" one?
Pasturebird was launched to provide consumers access to affordable and nutrient-dense poultry that's raised in a regenerative way and good for the planet. In its first year of competing in the Natural Products Expo East NEXTY Award contest, it not only was a finalist, it won the award in its category. Here, co-founder Paul Greive talks technology, soil health and inclusion.
Why did you choose to enter the Expo East NEXTY Awards competition this year?
Paul Greive: The NEXTY Awards are among the most coveted industry awards in the natural products industry. Their commitment to honoring the best of the best in innovation, especially the products and brands who are dedicated to sustainability and improving the environment, makes the NEXTY an especially exciting award for us. We are honored to have been selected as a finalist this year.
How does Pasturebird apply modern technology to ancient farming methods?
PG: From the dawn of time, animals have always grazed, pooped, then moved to fresh pasture while the land rested. Only in the last 70 years have livestock animals become stationary, aided largely by antibiotic usage in livestock. Over 99.999% of poultry farmers, including both free range and organic, utilize stationary structures to house their poultry. This method not only limits livestock's potential for positive impact on the land, but increases the liability of manure runoff, over-saturation and groundwater contamination. Pasturebird's core tech application is a portable shade structure that enables every single chicken to thrive by grazing on fresh pasture, fertilizing the ground, and then moving to an entirely new location every 24 hours, only to return after a roughly 90 day rest period.
We are combining the ancient, indigenous wisdom of biomimicry with the most modern poultry technology on the market today, including thermostatically controlled curtains, fan systems and misters, efficient feed auger distribution, and crystal clean water nipple lines. All of this runs off of 100% solar power and is built on our very own all-electric chassis featuring over 20 patented drive wheels for all terrain, all season operation.
Pasturebird's first innovation was a floorless mobile coop that was manually moved to fresh pasture daily, giving the chickens the benefits of being on pasture while being protected from predators, and allows for consistent, even distribution of manure. This gives us the opportunity to work with nature as our partner and not just our resource, allowing us to give more than we take.
However, Pasturebird's most recent innovation—the Automated Range Coop, or ARC—is truly applying modern tech to ancient farming methods. It is a 7,500 sq. ft. solar powered, floorless mobile structure that moves 6,000 chickens to fresh pasture every single day in only five minutes. The ARC also includes state-of-the-art feed and water systems which utilizes modern technology to make regenerative agriculture scalable.
Why is daily movement such a big part of your farming model?
PG: Integration of animals onto croplands is critical for maintaining healthy soil and a key component of regenerative agriculture. While conventional housing turns chicken poop into waste or a new floor for the next round of animals, it becomes a natural fertilizer for the fields with the ARC's daily movement. Touted as one of the best natural fertilizers available, it is loaded with nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients that soil and other crops need to increase overall nutrient density that synthetic fertilizers can't replicate.
Because healthy soil is able to retain significantly more carbon, these modernized regenerative agriculture methods are critical to mitigating climate change. While increasing the nutrient density of soil—a much-needed outcome for perpetual loss with every generation that passes due to commercial farming and other non-regenerative practices—it also increases the nutrient density of the chicken. Pasturebird's chicken is nutritionally superior with three times more omega-3s, 50% more vitamins A and E, six times more glutathione, four times more ATP, three times higher in NADH, 50% more creatine, and eight times more adenylic acid. [Editor's note: ATP is an "energy molecule" that all life forms have, according to the American Chemical Society. An coenzyme, it works with enzymes to transfer energy to cells.]
What is your company doing to incorporate either sustainability or J.E.D.I. (justice, equity, diversity, inclusion) practices into your business?
PG: Pasturebird is an equal opportunity employer and we're proud to offer year-round, well paying jobs in the communities where they live. Most of the people who live near our farm must drive into the city for work, but we are shifting that with our sustainable model, and keeping locals in their own communities. We also feel that our entire business model is based on J.E.D.I. principles. For far too long, nutrient-dense and pasture-raised meats have been too expensive for consumers on a budget. This is due to extremely high labor costs and small scale. We have partnered with Perdue Farms, the leader in Certified Organic Poultry, to bring economies of scale to this space and make true pasture raised poultry more accessible for all.
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