In 1990, a letter in the Jewish Chronicle from a doctor in Manchester, decrying factory farming and the contents of manufactured kosher foods and asking for like-minded people to contact him with a view to facilitating the production of Organic Kosher food, elicited 27 responses.
21 years later, after many attempts, I am now able to supply certified Organic Kosher meat and poultry.
30th April 2013
Background – what goes on behind the scenes
Almost every aspect of Organic Kosher production is subcontracted.
Every time I produce a batch of chickens, I must coordinate the certified Organic farmers, the certified Organic Kosher abbatoir and the certified Organic Kosher packing plant.
I must prepare production 3-4 months in advance, which is how long Organic chickens take to grow.
All the sub-contractors have competing schedules, so it is like organising a house-buying chain every time I produce.
Add in that :-
a) I deal with up to three Beth Dins (Kosher certifying bodies)
b) I arrange Organic inspections and licensing, with the Organic licensing body, for both the abattoirs and packing plant
c) the customers are in London, while production is in Manchester,
d) I borrow freezer storage currently
There are a dozen organic licensing bodies in the UK . The organic movement is replete with animal rights campaigners, both at the grass roots levels and in key management positions. They have (in my opinion) grossly mistaken views on shechita (the Jewish slaughter method), principally, they think it does not minimise stress at slaughter, and some think it is cruel and the animals bleed to death.
Every single body refused to license shechita as organic for over 20 years. The two largest, and best known, bodies, comprising c. 90% of the UK organic market, even wrote policy banning un-stunned (i.e. un-electrocuted) slaughter.
So, I used to certify the entire process myself, by surreptitiously obtaining contact details of organic farms in England, calling hundreds of them, patiently explaining shechita, visiting and inspecting the very few that were large enough, near enough to the kosher abbatoir, and cooperative enough to deal with me, persuading them to send animals to an abattoir where they had never been, let their animals undergo an alien procedure, and to trust me that I would pay them afterwards.
Despite the opposition, I have persuaded an Organic licensing body to license shechita as Organic and they have held firm.
The organic licensing body has been an absolute pleasure to work with. They have been extraordinarily generous and patient. They need paying, before they conduct the 2013 inspections and grant permission to produce – so, I need your help !
For many years, I had to find an organic chicken farmer, near to a kosher abattoir that I was using, and contract with them to grow a batch of chickens. When those were sold, I had to go and find another, and so on. As organic chickens take c.3 months to grow (versus 35 – 42 days for factory-farmed birds) and the lead time to buy organic day-old chicks was 2 weeks, the gap between each production run was often 4 months (!)
Over the last 23 years, this project, which began as a campaign and metamorphosised into a service, has gone from miniscule (200 chickens every 4 months) to small (c.500 per month).
Factory-farming is cruel and pollutes, organic farming repairs the environment and the resulting produce is fantastic.
Please support me to help achieve the next stage of this process.
Lamb and beef
When I start producing lamb and beef, the entire process outlined above must repeat itself.
To add to the complexity :-
a) only 50% of cows are kosher and you never know beforehand which will be kosher.
b) the hindquarter (the back half of the animal, which is the tastiest) is not permitted for kosher and so an indeterminate and varying number of non-kosher “whole bodies” and hindquarters must be sold to the general non-kosher market each time I produce.
I must create a supply chain, to sell the non-kosher meat, to the small number of organic butchers (they already have suppliers).
There is a good deal of complication in organising production – coordinating with :-
3 batei din (Kosher food licensing bodies),
1 Organic licensing body,
2 halal food certifiying bodies, in future
an Organic halal food company, to sell the non-kosher Organic meat
a processing plant,
a proposed light manufacturing site.
I need more financial resources to do it properly. I have created a ‘crowdsource’ appeal – to pay for :-
- the annual Organic licences,
- some basic equipment e.g. a printer,
- three months of funding for storage, sales and production visits, and shop and home deliveries.