Brandon Sheard meatsmithing truck would help small farmers with their meat preparation needs.

It’s part of a vision of returning to localized "peasant" principles of meat eating.

Sheard would drive his business directly onto a farmer’s plot and slaughter the animals on the spot.

This, he says, is one of the humane and educational elements of his practice, and it used to be a regular aspect of animal agriculture.

Then, he’d teach the farmer how to take the animal apart, pointing out all the juicy bits we normally no longer eat, and take the carcass back to his own butchery to make the cuts.

That’s where the second educational aspect comes in: For a discount to the farmer’s processing costs, Sheard would host a class around the farmer’s pig carcass, then send the cuts back to the farmer.

That’s where the second educational aspect comes in: For a discount to the farmer’s processing costs, Sheard would host a class around the farmer’s pig carcass, then send the cuts back to the farmer.

The goal of Sheard’s meatsmithing Kickstarter is to raise money for a real butcher shop (and a license). Until now, he’s been using his own kitchen, which can get tiring if you constantly have to shift it back into a regular home.

2013-07-22

Forget Food Trucks: Here’s A Mobile Butcher Shop

It’s way more artisanal than that ice cream you’re buying: Brandon Sheard’s Meatsmithing truck is designed to help small farmers turn their animals into food humanely and easily.

Meat on wheels is a familiar sight in a city setting, but Brandon Sheard isn’t Kickstarting for a burger truck. That’s because Sheard is something of an anomaly—for the past three years, he’s lived with his wife and three young kids out on Vashon Island in Puget Sound, hosting classes in person and online for farmers on the old-school methods of humanely slaughtering animals. Now, he’s raising money for a mobile operation, one that would cater to the hundreds of small farmers that have taken root in and around Puget Sound, Washington state, and Oregon. He calls it the "meatsmithing truck," and it’s part of a vision of returning to localized "peasant" principles of meat eating.

"The agrarian renaissance is booming like crazy out here, farmers with like five acres and a farm stand," Sheard explains. "These are the people who are demanding more livestock harvesting."

Sheard’s meatsmithing truck would work like other custom slaughter and butcher operations, for which demand is high, but with a few major alterations. First, Sheard would drive his business directly onto a farmer’s plot and slaughter the animals on the spot. This, he says, is one of the humane and educational elements of his practice, and it used to be a regular aspect of animal agriculture.

"What an animal fears most, more than a knife, is being separated from their flock or herd," Sheard says. He wouldn’t be handling massive herds, either—the truck would cater to vegetable farmers who decide to raise a few livestock animals off the extra scrap. Then, he’d teach the farmer how to take the animal apart, pointing out all the juicy bits we normally no longer eat, and take the carcass back to his own butchery to make the cuts. That’s where the second educational aspect comes in: For a discount to the farmer’s processing costs, Sheard would host a class around the farmer’s pig carcass, then send the cuts back to the farmer.

The goal of Sheard’s meatsmithing Kickstarter is to raise money for a real butcher shop (and a license). Until now, he’s been using his own kitchen, which can get tiring if you constantly have to shift it back into a regular home. Three years ago, Sheard and his wife, Lauren, abandoned their academic career tracks in English literature for the island, and they’ve been sustaining themselves on meat ever since. Earlier, Sheard had taken on a job at a local farm, but when the recession hit, found himself having to take on more responsibilities—he was put through a crash course on animal agriculture, from raising animals to butchering them.

"We lost the butcher, so I had to start learning how to butcher immediately," Sheard recalls. "And then I found the best way to get money out of what we were harvesting is not to throw away the head and the liver. So I trained myself in peasant recipes because they make the most of that," he said.

Soon after, Sheard and his family started a popular video series called "The Anatomy of Thrift," in which Sheard demonstrates traditional ways to hack and cure meat. The meatsmithing truck, he says, is part of a larger mission to decentralize animal agriculture from the industrialized, monolithic status quo and return some power to the farmers.

"I want to enable farmers to feed themselves on their own land," Sheard says. "And for the parts that they don’t have the time for, they can hire us to do."

Add New Comment

3 Comments

  • annduncan

    SUCH a perfect combo, butchering for small farms AND educating (empowering) during the process!

  • drawds

    Humanely murdering? Isn't that an oxymoron? I mean, mercy humane killing is one thing, but killing an individual who is healthy and does not want to die, how can that be called humane?

    This is like saying "Today I killed a Chinese baby girl humanely." or "Today I raped this girl humanely".

    Putting the word "humanely" in front of an atrocity doesn't make the atrocity right, it just highlights the moral schizophrenia suffered by the writer and the owners of the truck.

    What's REALLY humane is to treat these animals with respect, to care for them and let them live their lives till their natural end.

  • BrokenDust

    You are an idiot, and a hypocrite, judging by the fact that you are still alive. Everything that lives, lives by taking life. Even the plants deprive each other of nutrients to grow. If you want to eat, you are killing something, depriving something somewhere of nutrients it needs, for yourself. If that bothers you, you are welcome to stop doing it. I could take the time to lay out a flawless argument, but it would be wasted on you.

    This looks like a good idea, as long as he can meet (meat? THE PUNS) safety standards. Props for a good idea, and for a man who works for a living.