Fighting Hunger, Poverty, and Pollution
You helped us give 1% of our 2016 sales to Heifer International, through our 1% For the Planet membership.
In an earlier article, I talked about What is 1% For the Planet, and Why we joined.
This article will talk about why we chose to pledge our 1% for 2016 to Heifer International.
Teach a Man to Fish
Here at Chronology, we don't sell fashion items. We sell tools. Our hollow heel allows you to work on realigning your posture. Our flexible soles provide an opportunity to strengthen your foot's intrinsic muscles. Our thin soles let you reconnect with your feet, and your feet reconnect with the earth. And the stylish and professional appearance of the shoes allow you to confidently make a great impression on the people you interact with throughout your life. Ultimately, you still have to put in the work to improve yourself. But having our shoes aligns with your goals and enhances your efforts.
Heifer International shares a similar philosophy. In 1938... "Dan West was a farmer from the American Midwest and member of the Church of the Brethren who went to the front lines of the Spanish Civil War as an aid worker. His mission was to provide relief, but he soon discovered the meager single cup of milk rationed to the weary refugees once a day was not enough.
And then he had a thought: What if they had not a cup, but a cow?"
I Love Cows
Yes, destroying natural grasslands to grow monocultures of GMO corn to feed cows on concentrated animal feeding operations is a terrible idea. Natural ecosystems are lost. Fertile topsoil is eroded. Water is wasted. The cows live in crowded, filthy conditions. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and animal waste pollute downstream. And the people who work in either the fields or the lots are exposed to all the above.
But if cows are holistically managed, raised and finished on grass, all the above are reversed. Grasslands are rejuvenated, as this natural ecosystem is meant to be grazed on by large herd animals (see Allan Savory's TED talk for more). Topsoil is restored. Water comes from rainfall. The cows graze in herds, as they are meant to. No chemical fertilizers, pesticides, nor antibiotics are needed. Animal waste fertilizes the soil. And the ranchers have a dynamic outdoors work environment where they need to use their hearts to care and communicate with the animals, and use their brains to tailor holistic management practices to fit the specifics of their herd and their local ecosystem. And we the consumer get tasty, healthy beef, raised right.
On most days, I have half a pound of grassfed beef, 3 cups of organic cow milk, a scoop of grassfed whey, and probably some ice cream. I owe most of my gainz to cows.
Cow leather is the primary raw material for our products. It has a great look, feel, and smell. It's quite durable, comfortable, can be made water-resistant, and ages well. We haven't been able to source our leather from grassfed cows yet, but it is a goal.
I love cows. My personal values, and the spirit of the brand, jive with the work that Heifer International is doing.
Not Just Animals
Just as how each grassfed rancher must customize holistic management to the ecological realities of their ranch, Heifer customizes their projects to the ecological, social, cultural, and economic realities of their locales. They don't just drop a cow in a village and pat themselves on the back. Every project goes through comprehensive planning, where they figure out what to do to help the most in need grow the most, by working with the local community. Their implementation involves a lot of education and communication. They monitor their projects closely. And they learn and document both their successes and setbacks, so they can do better in the future.
One of the cornerstones of Heifer's values-based development is called Passing On The Gift. Originally, this meant that recipients of animals from Heifer were required to pass on the first female offspring to a neighbor in need. Now, as recipients are often organized into self-help groups, they also pass on their knowledge to neighbors. Win-win-win...win!
To learn more about Heifer International, check out their website: https://www.heifer.org/