Keith Harvey's Veldt Reared Beef

Keith Harvey’s Veldt Reared Beef – Series

Part 1 – Nature’s Perfect Context
I had the pleasure of spending another soul expanding week-end on Keith and Rachelle Harvey’s farm. A meeting was held there to discuss grass-fed farming in South Africa and I had the pleasure of both participating as well as re-connecting to what I believe is the gold standard in grass-fed beef.
I guess the term, wholly veldt reared would be a more apt description of the magic behind this farm. Yet Keith Harvey’s farming is so much more than that.
So many times on the drive down and in the time spent in between on Keith’s farm I felt overwhelmed with a sense of responsibility to best convey to you just how special this farm is. This is no ordinary farm. This is a sacred dance between man and nature.
This is the place where my idealism finds home. The place that reminds me of the wisdom of nature, reminds me of my place in a cycle of perfect sense, this is how food was meant to work. I had been warned prior by a mentor of sorts, an organic certification consultant that introduced me to this farm, that I would be changed if I spent time with Keith there. I was the first time and this time again, the sense of life and nature deepening even further for me.
For there isn’t one species of grass, bush or shrub, or one insect, bird or mite that Keith doesn’t understand the purpose of. Everything exists in nature in balance, and everything has a purpose to uphold the whole, and when that is understood, nurtured and respected, there can be no question that there is an intelligence to life that we can’t hope to govern. It governs us. It is a supportive universe indeed. You can’t spend time with Keith and conclude otherwise.
Keith Harveys veldt tells you that no matter how you want to frame it, there is a guiding interconnected intelligence behind life. You can’t harm one, without harming all. You can’t try and dominate one aspect without upsetting the balance. It is a harmonious cycle when supported.
We have made a monumental hash of this cycle with what we have done to food and in our efforts to manipulate nature to feed our ludicrous demands for endless satiation. Against that, Keith and others like him, and the likes of Allan Savory who taught Keith about holistic management, firmly stand tall and tell us that there is always hope when we turn back to nature with a new attitude. One of respect and awe, she has everything we need to heal.
One of the first things that strikes me driving to Vryburg, is how vast and  unspoilt the region is.
There are no settlements. There is no industry. Once you past the last maize farm and flour mill, you still have many km’s ahead before you reach Keith’s farm of unadulterated, unspoilt veldt alive and teeming with life. There is no polluted water, the air is super clean. You can drive for a good hour without seeing another soul, without passing another car. This is the calibre of vast beauty that the cattle are being reared in.
I wished a hundred times over, that I could stop and impress upon you, how clean the region is, how unspoilt, how beautiful. I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to do it justice.
This is the context before we get anywhere near the rest of this story which is a way of farming that remains totally and only dependant on nature and utterly independent on any external, chemical input. Totally.
There is no need here to make allowances for grain for these cattle. Their dietary needs are taken care of by Keith who makes sure that the veldt stays supported, stays fertile, stays in perfect balance. Vryburg is otherwise known as the ‘Texas of South Africa’ precisely because the ecology there is such that cattle can be wholly supported and grazed on veldt all year round.
This is difficult on other regions of the country that do need to add supplementary feed in Winter and when the grass isn’t adequate enough to support cattle’s needs.
They don’t even dip for ticks on this farm.
Why? How is it that  this farm can get away with not having to dip cattle, how is it that this farm doesn’t have a tick problem?
The answer is found in the method of farming philosophy practiced here which is ‘holistic management’
Because they don’t have a tick problem. They don’t have a tick problem because the tick’s predators aren’t wiped out by pesticides. Because the cattle are left to roam naturally, moving frequently which is nature’s way, the tick’s life cycle is broken and it doesn’t get a chance to breed prolifically. It serves his function which is as an immuniser in nature. A tick takes any surrounding disease in a region and injects a portion of it to the animals so that they can build up immunity. This is the tick’s purpose and partnership with animals. This is just one example of the sense of farming in accordance with nature where the function of everything in the chain is understood and supported, this is the practice of holistic management which is a farming philosophy that is beyond organic.
Allan Savory is the man who developed the principles of holistic management. A system of farming that serves to mimic nature’s ways to heal soil fertility and reverse desertification (a process of fertile land becoming desert when the balance is upset) and climate change.
To understand the calibre of beef you are buying and the calibre of environmentalism that supports and informs this very special farm, it is truly worth listening to Allan Savory explain this himself. Click here for a clip of Allan Savory explaining holistic management at a TED talk.
Part 2 – Holistic Management – Mimicking Nature To Heal The Earth
 
 
 

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