How to ensure access to local meat during COVID-19 and beyond. 


Although, for now we are putting all of our in-person, experiential classes, camps, and workshops that teach practical meat skills to consumers, producers, and food professionals on hold, we are pivoting quickly to respond to the moment. We've combined forces with Good Meat ambassadors around the country to start compiling information, networks, and other resources for all of our constituents. We’ll continue to compile resources, build online networks for exchange of information, and share as we can.

We hope that each of you will join us in equipping your respective communities with the knowledge and information they need to support our good meat producers and good meat to all of our tables. Please share our list of resources far and wide, sign up for our Good Meat Project Switchboard, and continue to watch for announcements about other ways you can help. 

If you are a consumer looking to stock your freezers with local, responsible meat: 

  • Search for local farms in your area online and reach out to them directly. Many communities have farm support organizations that maintain an online catalog of local farms and their products. LocalHarvest and EatWild are two examples. You may find leads to this via google or homesteading and food groups on social media. 
  • Farmers markets may be closed, but you can go to their website or call to find contact information for their regular vendors. Find one near you using Local Harvest or the USDA National Farmers Market Directory.
  • Search online for local butcher shops that are dedicated to sourcing meat from local, responsible sources and utilizing the whole animals. The Good Meat Project is building a national database of whole animal butcher shops that source local meat. We are updating it hour by hour so the list will continue to grow.
  • The Niche Meat Processor's Assistance Network (NMPAN) is compiling a list of livestock farmers who sell their meats online. You can view that list here
  • Contact your local Meat Collective! These are organizations and businesses around the country that the Good Meat Project trains to offer whole-animal butchery classes using locally-sourced, responsibly-raised meat. While they likely aren’t offering classes in the face of COVID-19, they are great information resources. 
  • See below for more resources.

If you are a farmer struggling to find processing services and/or retail avenues:

  • It may be time to start thinking about teaming up with other producers (veg or meat) to offer combined CSAs or bulk buying options for consumers. The CSA Innovation Network is an excellent resource.  
  • For farmers who are solely selling direct to consumers, check out this excellent guide: The Direct Market Farmers Guide to Covid-19.
  • If you are considering launching a CSA, check out some of the online-marketplace platforms built for this like  Local Food Marketplace   or  CSAware  
  • If you are looking for processing in your region. Visit the Food Safety Inspection Service and Meat & Poultry Inspection Service's database of USDA processing facilities in your area. Rebecca Thistlethwaite, director of the Niche Meat Processor's Assistance Network (NMPAN) says "Right now is typically the slow season for slaughter facilities so farmers who need animals processed should be able to schedule appointments. USDA is committed to keeping inspectors in the plants and to keep plants up and running at this time."
  • NMPAN keeps a separate database of state-inspected and custom processing facilities and you can search for a facility near you. 
  • NMPAN is also maintaining its own resources page, mostly geared toward processors, but worth it for producers to check out. 
  • The COVID situation and an increase in demand for meat (or an increase in supply due to wholesale account closures) has inspired an increasing number of farmers to begin selling direct to consumer online using platforms like Grazecart and/or Barn2Door
  • Community Alliance with Family Farmers is working to connect producers with retailers. Fill out their form here. 
  • See below for details about our Facebook group for meat industry producers, processors, and retailers who want to connect and help each other in their regions. 
  • Our colleague and friend, Olivia Tincani, has compiled this excellent list of resources and advice, geared toward farmers/ranchers in California, but still helpful to producers who are elsewhere.  It includes a lot of resources for small businesses who are struggling to get federal and state help, as well as private loans and grants. 

If you are a processor, butcher, and/or meat retailer:

  • The American Association of Meat Processors is keeping a helpful list of resources
  • NMPAN has also posted a helpful resource list
  • See below for details about our Facebook group for meat industry producers, processors, and retailers who want to connect and help each other in their regions. 
  • If you are a butcher/chef looking for work, join our Switchboard (see below for more info) as we are starting to see small processors who are struggling to meet demand and may need butchering help in the near future. 
  • The Good Meat Project is building a national database of whole animal butcher shops that source local meat. We are updating it hour by hour so the list will continue to grow. If you don't see your business on there and would like to be included, email us at info at goodmeatproject.org. 

No matter if you are a farmer/rancher, processor, food professional, or  consumer: 

  • Sign up for the Meat Collectives Switchboard, an online marketplace, networking, and information exchange hub that the Good Meat Project maintains for consumers, farmers, food professionals, and processors across the country. Ask each other questions, network, and buy and sell responsibly raised meat! It’s free to sign up. 
  • Cornell University and NC Choices have developed MeatSuite  an online marketing tool to help customers easily find locally produced, affordable, and delicious meat in bulk. MeatSuite was created to increase sales of local meat in bulk quantities (quarters, halves, wholes) directly from farm to consumer. Consumers can search for farmers selling local meats in their area using criteria such as location, species, and farm practices. Add a farm profile here or search for farms here. Note: the service is only available to North Carolina and NYC currently. 
  • Other meat educators and groups are active all over the country who are working toward local, responsible, healthy meat production systems. We’re trying to connect as many of you to one another as we can. Fill out this form if you are interested in accessing or making us aware of existing good meat resources in your community, and/or for accessing humane processing and butchery in your area. The Good Meat Project will share this information with relevant community resources to help support your network of producers, food professionals, and consumers. 
  • Check out this COVID Resources website where producers and retailers can post food they have available to sell or donate and consumers can search for food that is available. 
  • NMPAN is also maintaining its own resources page, mostly geared toward processors, but worth others to check out
  •  In response to the COVID-19 situation we've created a closed Facebook group (the Good Meat Project Response Team) meant strictly for practicing meat professionals: retailers, processors, producers and other folks specifically working toward a similar mission. The goal in this group is for these constituents to join together to swap advice, share resources, and learn from each other how best to adapt in the COVID-19 context. If you fit into this description, request membership now by answering a few questions and agreeing to our group rules.
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