Let us introduce ourselves. We are Chuck and Danea Lawrenson, and we have been farming here
in Sanford for almost 20 years. We raise cattle, sheep, goats, pigs and chickens for meat, milk and eggs. We also raise garden food for ourselves and make hay for our animals.
We also host thousands of visitors who enjoy cuddling baby animals, seeing milking, shearing and pasture visits and get a chance to learn about where food comes from.
There have been some conversations lately about our farm, and why we would care for and allow children to enjoy the animals, and then also harvest them for meat.
And we can understand someone’s surprise if what they thought was a “petting farm” turned out to be a real farm.
After all, what other working livestock farm also has a business inviting visitors to enjoy the animals and learn about food production?
We have never tried to hide the fact that we eat our animals. We don’t want anyone to be surprised by that. (See our article from 2021 about how we aren’t a zoo.)
We believe animals are here on earth to be enjoyed, cared for and made use of in the most respectful way. We plan everything around our animal’s welfare, making sure they have access to lots of space, fresh grass, fresh air and sunshine, along with the usual care of food/ water/ shelter. We also make sure their life is happy and meaningful with natural behaviours, and that when we harvest them, they have a good death free of suffering. We believe that properly raised and harvested animals are a wonderful way to get quality, nutrient dense food that is not easy to replace with plants.
Every teacher and child who has visited here on a school field trip since 2007 knows that our animals are used for food, because that is the pillar of our goals for education.
On Family Days, we mostly inform through conversation so it would be possible to get the impression that we are a petting farm if no questions are asked.
So go ahead, tell your friends, “There’s a farm out there where you can hold and pet baby animals that also uses their animals for food.” Everyone is welcome to book a visit.
Or not, as they choose.