Brandon Schilling Letter
January 26, 2019
I have been raising animals since I was in elementary school, starting with pigs. The culmination of my experience resulted in a multi-species rotational grazing operation on leased land from the city of Ashland for a project with Standing Stone Brewing Company when it was under the general management of the Amaroticos. We had upwards of forty cattle, thirty sheep, and over 1500 birds at any given point on the property.
While the beef and lamb was USDA processed up north, we were processing around sixty birds a week in an ODA certified slaughter room in Standing Stone’s kitchen in the middle of downtown Ashland. An additional part of this operation was composting food scraps from the brewery’s restaurant, upwards of forty tons a year, including offal from the chicken processing, post consumer food scraps, and grease from the traps in the restaurants sewer system. We successfully reduced our waste by almost 90% because of this project. The most important thing I learned from this operation, specific to scale, was having patience with the learning and breaking in process. At many points throughout the project pasture was disturbed beyond the point of healthy, sustainable management, cows and sheep escaped their boundaries and had direct access to the TID, and animal husbandry was subpar in the name of the bottom line. These occurrences were largely due to management decisions. Many times in the establishment of Standing Stone’s farm operation, Carol Voison was present for farm tours, intimate conversations regarding the operations, and sat on the city Council that approved the lease and it subsequent renewal for the land.
I have been working with Uproot Meats since June 2018. In my opinion, the operation of Uproot is similar to the operation of Standing Stone in terms of its initial years of growing and learning. However, the difference I see and experience with Krista and Sonia is their unrelenting willingness to make things safe and sustainable regardless of the effort it requires and the costs that make their bottom line even higher. I have seen them make management choices to protect land and water that do not make business sense financially, but are rather geared towards respecting their neighbors and the public.
From my perspective, most of the public scrutiny is coming from individuals who do not have extensive experience with large scale raising of livestock and all legalities therein, composting, or direct land and water resource management. I have also seen a tremendous effort on regulatory agencies to ensure Uproot’s processes are within legal parameters and safe operation.
As an entrepreneur, I understand the challenges of undertaking new endeavors to meet a great need in the community. I also understand things don’t always go as planned, and most importantly that nobody is perfect. Therefore, I choose to support Uproot, even through corrections, growing pains, and misunderstandings. I believe in their wholistic vision to bring healthy, local, and affordable meat options to the Rogue Valley. This is the essence of community, and this is the essence of growing and moving forward.
UPROOT Meats Livestock Consultant