John and his wife Todd own and run Forks Farm in Forks, Pennsylvania. They raise chickens, pigs and cows for meat and eggs, and describe their philosophy as "Local, fresh, healthy, and sustainable...pasture-raised with no drugs. Our animals grow to maturity on pasture without the heavy grain feeding found in feedlots and confinement facilities today. Pasture raising provides our animals a low-stress, high-quality life, improves the soil, and helps maintain the landscape. We don’t believe artificial fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, growth promotants, hormones and antibiotics belong in our food chain, so we don’t use them."
John added in correspondence that, "whatever, anyone thinks about raising, slaughtering and eating animals, we (Forks Farmers) feel that it is our duty as livestock farmers to raise animals in comfort in their natural environment and treat them with respect."
Henry and I visited Forks farm on a cold February morning, and as I tagged along with John on morning chores, we discussed the economic, ethical and environmental considerations around raising animals for food, touching on differences between small farming and industrial scale and how agriculture influences ecosystems.