A little history
The Island Grown Farmers Cooperative (IGFC) was initiated as a project of the Lopez Island Community Land Trust (LCLT). The LCLT was formed in 1989 with the mission “To act as a resource for, and to provide access to, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, and economic development.” The land trust embarked on affordable housing projects, assisted in economic activities and reached the conclusion that meat production offered possibly the best widespread agricultural activity at this time.
After numerous surveys and extended research, and with help by grants from the USDA the decision was reached to form the IGFC in 2000 and design & construction of the Mobile Processing Unit (MPU) for processing meat was completed in the fall of the year.
In February 2002 a USDA “Grant of Inspection” was received and the first livestock were processed. Later in 2002 the decision was reached to accept membership from neighboring counties (Island, Skagit and Whatcom). In August IGFC hired its’ first employees and in September leased the cut and wrap facility at Bow, WA (formerly Peth Meats).
Our retail store, operating under the name “Northwest Homegrown”, opened in 2003 at the Bow location.
The ensuing years have seen a steady increase in the amount of product processed and the consuming need at this time is to facilitate additional capacity as our product is becoming accepted and known as a locally grown, healthy and tasteful alternative to large corporation non local meats.
What we do
IGFC provides USDA-inspected mobile animal slaughter services to members and non-members in San Juan, Whatcom, Skagit, Island and Snohomish counties in Washington State. Meat cut/wrap, storage and some retail sales services are provided at IGFC’s facility in Bow. The business is owned by the member-producers and is directed by an elected board and it's officers. The co-op employes a General Manager, who oversees our operations team.
Why grass fed?
The natural feed on which cattle evolved is a mixture of grass, legumes and similar forages. We believe grain fed finishing of cattle, which cheaply and quickly increases weight and fat, but deprives the animal from its natural food is not a humane approach to meat production. We believe, too, that grass fed beef is healthier meat. Studies and tests have shown that the fat in grass fed beef contains only about half the saturated fat of grain fed beef. It also has a much higher level of heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated lineolic acid).
To become a member requires submitting a completed and signed membership application, being released off of any membership waiting list by an IGFC officer, paying the $100.00 voting share membership fee (which purchases one voting share of coop stock) and agreeing to pay an initial equity assessment based on the scale of the prospective member’s animal production operations.