Big thanks Nick Brown and MadTable for the great article on Black Earth Meats and Redmeatmarket.com! Nick tells the quick story of Bartlett Durand leading the locavore movement and partneing with Chicago-based entrepreneur Mark Wilhelms to develop a new social and commercial community known as Red Meat Market.
Bartlett Durand, who in several years has exponentially grown Black Earth Meats and become a leading voice in the locavore movement, has partnered with Chicago-based entrepreneur Mark Wilhelms to develop a new social and commercial community known as Red Meat Market. Simply, the market links meat producers directly to consumers who seek local, sustainable and humanely processed beef, pork and lamb.
“One of the biggest problems we have is that the distribution network in this country has a lock on what consumers can get access to,” says Durand, noting that four huge processing companies account for some 8o percent of the beef sold in the United States. “One of the ideas behind Red Meat Market is to create a community of people who are going to demand good, sustainable food.” The Red Meat Market provides an online marketplace, where consumers can buy meat directly from producers they know, but it also hinges on a social component. Durand and Wilhelms have held launch events in Chicago and Milwaukee, and they’re hosting a Madison launch event at Middleton’s Capital Brewery beer garden on Thursday, Aug. 16.
The idea, says Durand, is to find a way to bring together passionate consumers of humanely and locally produced meats to get to know their suppliers, as well as create a face-to-face social community that may also get involved in advocacy. “Food is supposed to be social, so we’re trying to create fun around food,” Durand says, “but we’re also trying to create an activist mechanism.” An example of the latter might be a group of consumers urging a particular restaurant to or grocery store to buy from a particular supplier or at least type of supplier, and then pledging to spend their food dollars there. Fun social events, meanwhile, might include cattle drives, butcher classes or farm dinners. “This is like an intentional community,” Durand says. “We know people are out there and we’re trying to bring them together. These consumers are not just asking for local food, they are demanding it.” While the Red Meat Market is currently focused on the Madison, Milwaukee and Chicago markets, Durand says he and Wilhelms intentionally created a platform that could allow local suppliers in other parts of the country to join in the concept.
More information about the free Red Meat Market Madison launch party, which will naturally include a number giveaways and promotions for meat eaters, can be found here.