New at the Co-op: Reed Farm

Keeping our local food system healthy and strong is a community effort. As with any system of trade, it requires a dynamic variety of moving parts to function. So, what separates our beloved system from the national food system? While there are some clear differences, such as boosting our local economy and access to fresher fare on store shelves, one key notion to remember is that it is still a work-in-progress. Often, it is newcomers who step in after recognizing areas where innovation is needed. This was the case for Peter Laznicka, who opened Reed Farm in the spring of 2019 after realizing the local region was underserved with humane poultry facilities.

Peter and Kat tend to their farm in 2019

A path forward for humane processing in Western Massachusetts

Previously, farmers across Western Massachusetts had no choice but to drive long distances to ethically and humanely process their chickens and turkeys. They were in dire need of a processing plant that was both local and could always be trusted to do the right thing. In response to this, Peter and his partner Rob Rollins founded Reed Farm on three socially and environmentally sound principles:

  • To produce safe, healthy poultry for wholesale customers while respecting the land with regenerative and sustainable practices

  • To provide local farmers and backyard poultry raisers a humane and high-quality product close to home

  • To eliminate the need to transport livestock over long distances, reducing stress on them and the environment
Laznicka (center) poses with David Schafer of Featherman Equipment (left) and Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm (right) holding a sign handmade by Richard Reed, Peter’s grandfather.

A positive impact on rural New England communities

The facility was approved by the town of Sunderland in late 2018 and officially opened just a few months later. While today they are still a young business, Reed Farm is growing quickly thanks to its support of other small farms, as well as its just and sensible approach to processing—a necessary part of all food systems far and wide, but one too commonly associated with controversial practices. Peter, Kat, and Rob have worked extremely hard to ensure our own local system has a compassionate means for farmers to process poultry with the same level of care and respect they put into raising them.

After just one year, the staff at Reed Farm have already cemented themselves as CISA local heroes. They sell their poultry to a number of local schools, restaurants, and retailers like our co-op. Their chickens and turkeys are all pastured seasonally and raised locally, which supports our region’s farms, rural economy, and the health and wellness of shoppers throughout our community.

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