Margo True

Chickens pecking on the pasture at Eatwell Farm, near Dixon, CA. Photo courtesy Eatwell Farm.

We’ve been fans of Eatwell Farm for years. A 105-acre enterprise near Dixon, CA, it raises excellent organic produce and organic chickens on pasture. We raise our own chickens here at Sunset and have become very fond of them (and their eggs!) over the years, so we appreciate the care that owner Nigel Walker takes with his flock.

But Walker has to buy the hatchlings from far away—sometimes many thousands of miles—and like nearly all chicks, they’re bred for a cooped-up, indoor life; when exposed to actual nature, they’re not as hardy as they could be. Walker would like to hatch them locally, and rely on a sturdy breed. Plus, he’d like to give people a choice other than the factory-farming system, which destroys nearly all baby roosters at birth and packs chickens indoors.

With Eatwell’s current fundraising campaign on Barnraiser, he plans to change all that—providing he can inspire just a few hundred dollars more in donations. His mission: To buy heritage birds, treat them humanely, and selectively breed them until he gets a chicken that thrives outside and yields great-tasting meat as well as eggs. (These “dual-purpose” breeds are rare; the industry breeds meat birds or egg layers, not both.)

Walker plans to share what he learns, too. “We’ve never been proprietary or hoarders of information and we look forward to helping to make this an accessible option to the rest of the poultry community. By taking this on, we can be a resource for others looking to make the switch.”

Eatwell has just a handful of days to meet their goal. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.

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