Joined at the Hip: A Story of Aligning Growth & Sustainable Agriculture
This past weekend I had the privledge of joining a number of food bloggers and media folks at a very special announcement made by Modern Steak Owner, Stephen Deere. Stephen along with the owner of Benchmark Farms, Michael Munton shared a new joint venture - Modern Steak has bought a bull! This means that offspring from this bull will be used as one of the meat sources for Modern Steak, tying the consumer directly to the producer. A cradle-to-cradle consumption model.
In speaking with Stephen (over one of the best Rib Eye steaks I have ever had, btw) I learned that Benchmark Farms has made a commitment to grow alongside Modern Steak and Stephen's vision for sustainable agriculture and fine dining. When considering how we source our food and some of the challenges facing family-owned agricultural businesses, it is these types of business arranagements that make all the difference!
Recently, we have heard how restaurants like Earls, struggled with finding locally sourced product that met their standards. The ripple effect of Earls' decision to pull out of the Alberta beef supply chain, and then subsequently come back had a ripple effect, not only with the relationship that Earls has with its clientele, but also the relationship it has with its suppliers. Earls is by no means a small enterprise like Modern Steak, however the principles of sustainable procurement and supporting local businesses are the same - consumers are increasingly aware of where products are sourced and how they consummed, as such the relationship between the producer and the buyer is much more transparent.
When small businesses like Benchmark and Modern Steak work together to grow their businesses everyone wins. The relationship between the Rancher and the Chef/Owner is a symbiotic one, where the success of breeding the ideal cattle and the creation of the perfect meal go hand-in-hand.
This type of producer/supplier to manufacturer/consumer relationship is not unique to the restaurant world. We see more and more how the direct relationships along a supply chain can improve the bottom line of a business simply by managing the quality of products produced and the openness of a shared desire to grow together.
What Stephen and Michael have created is a direction that we see a number of businesses going - a shared vision for mutual success.