GOOD 100: Meet Patrick Martins, Saving Endangered Livestock One Burger at a Time
Patrick Martins knew that if he wanted to save the Red Bourbon turkey, or the Gloucestershire Old Spot pig, he was going to have to eat them. He turned this realization into Heritage Foods USA, a company that works with local farms to raise disappearing breeds of farm animals.
The food industry as it stands is following a trend of crossbreeding and hybridization, pushing many breeds of livestock towards the endangered species list. Heritage Foods USA slaughters this emerging monoculture by incentivizing producers to raise vanishing breeds with an introduction to the foodies and chefs that like their meat rare.
Currently, Heritage Foods works with 25 independent farms, and ships weekly to more than 250 restaurants nationwide. But interested consumers can head to the site and fill a basket with pasture-raised, antibiotic-free meats including chicken, bison, pork, burgers, lamb and bison. A same-day delivery checked out by 8 a.m. will get you your selection of meat by dinnertime the same day.
Martins takes “foodie” to the next level. In 2009 he launched the nonprofit Heritage Radio Network, an essential resource on food culture. Based out of a pair of old, repurposed shipping containers behind Roberta’s restaurant in Brooklyn, Heritage Radio Network reaches over a million listeners a month. Martins himself hosts “The Main Course.”
“Almost every important figure in the American food revolution has been on the network, from Alice Waters to Michael Pollan,” boasts the Heritage Radio Network’s website. “We have recorded and broadcasted over 3,000 shows covering a wide array of topics including food, agriculture, politics, design, art, music and much more.”
The radio network is committed to archiving, protecting, and advancing the United States’ rich food culture. Backed by sponsors such as Whole Foods and the International Culinary Center, the network airs programing that gives voice to the nation’s industry leading food professionals, farmers, policy experts, artists and tastemakers.
With the help of farmers and meat-lovers like you, Heritage Foods USA is working to move the various livestock breeds it sells off national endangered lists and onto recovering lists.
“We will accomplish this through growth and increased sales, both wholesale and mail order,” Martins says.
So, load up a cart of your favorite carnage and be on the lookout for Martin's book. He says it will "rock the sustainable food boat for good."
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