EPIC is committed to redefining what constitutes a “healthy snack” by sourcing meat from the finest purveyors possible.
While “grass fed” and “organic” is generally synonymous with healthy and humanely raised animals, the EPIC team believes that these standards are only the beginning to a greater and more encompassing system that can create value and restore the land.
In our efforts to provide consumers with the healthiest snacks possible, we strive to source meat from ranchers that we deem EPIC. In particular, we get most excited about producers committed to holistic land management practices, such as those advocated by the Savory Institute and Joel Salatin.
One element of holistic land management includes rotational grazing in which ranchers carefully monitor the amount of time herds of livestock access plots of pasture. The alarming effects of overgrazing are a driving force in desertification and loss of nutrient dense topsoil. When the soil is depleted of nutrients, ranchers become dependent on routinely fertilizing the land with harsh and dangerous chemicals. These fertilizers do not add health to the soil and only further wreak havoc on all surrounding ecosystems.
Amazingly, when abused land is managed properly, the addition of livestock alone can reverse the effects of desertification and return grass to the barren landscape! It’s amazing to observe fence lines between holistically managed land and neighboring lands to see the difference. The only thing separating the properties are a barbed wire fence, however they often look like different planets. The Savory Institute sponsors many large scale restorative projects and some of the results have been nothing short of extraordinary.
Another alarming result of topsoil erosion and poor land management is the relationship between soil health and the nutrient density of the fruits and vegetables that we love. When soil is depleted of its natural matrix of microorganisms, our food is depleted of vitamins and minerals. Since 1975, USDA handbooks document a 50% drop in the amount of calcium in broccoli, a 88% decrease in iron content of watercress, and a 40% reduction in vitamin C in cauliflower. Properly managed land is the only answer to rebalancing the innate nutritional gifts of our food.
When land and livestock are holistically managed, pastures convert into brilliant ecosystems that are rich in biodiversity and create habitats for native and migratory animals. A simple way to evaluate the health of a ranch is by looking for biodiversity. If you notice monoculture grass and no birds, you have to ask yourself, would the livestock choose to be here if there were no fences? The answer is probably no. The EPIC bison ranch is an amazing place teeming with snakes, insects, coyotes, elk, hawks, and thousands of other organisms. Our bison are contained by mere 5′ fences that they could easily leap over (bison can jump over 6 vertical feet from a standstill!), but they choose to stay because they have abundant water, healthy grass, and a thriving ecosystem.
Another powerful impact of holistically managed land is the unique ability of healthy grass to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The sequestrion of carbon from the air and returning it to the soil is a brilliant and relatively unknown feature of pastureland. Grasslands are the second most effective resource to carbon sequestration and can effectively reduce the acceleration of global climate change.
EPIC is committed to being a constructive part of changing the paradigm in which ranch land is managed. We will continue to seek partnerships with ranchers that we deem EPIC and reward them for their commitment to healing the earth. Producing the finest meat available is only achieved when livestock creates a net positive return on the environment. By supporting ranchers who practice holistic land management, consumers can feel that they are no longer doing “less bad”, but actually “more good” for their own health, the lives of the animals, and the overarching ecosystem that we call home.
Live Epic, Eat Epic.
“If we do what I am showing you here, we can take enough carbon out of the atmosphere and safely store it in the grasslands soils for thousands of years, and if we just do that on about half the world’s grasslands that I’ve shown you, we can take us back to pre-industrial levels, while feeding people.
I can think of almost nothing that offers more hope for our planet, for your children, and their children and all of humanity.”