Our blog series has recently focused on the three pillars of CARE, but, it wouldn’t be complete without also spending time on discussing the values that make up CARE. Values guide a person’s actions and in the case of the Where Food Comes From CARE Standard, they serve as cornerstones rooted deeply across our brand. If you think about it, we are similar to a tree. Very much embedded with the earth and people around us. Our branches represent our family, ranchers, farmers, growers, supporters, community, people and partnerships while our values are rooted deep within Where Food Comes From CARE.
As you’ve learned, CARE is a sustainability standard for beef, pork, poultry and dairy farmers and ranchers. But, sustainability has become quite the buzz word, so, our founders, John and Leann Saunders, made sure that they defined what sustainability meant to them, and what it mean to the CARE program.
John Saunders, CEO and co-Founder, told us “I think one thing that we really have an opportunity to do is define what sustainability really means. The definition says it is a “means of producing something that does not deplete over time,” and there’s a lot of ways that you can interpret that. If you talk to our farmers and ranchers, sustainability is about maintaining the business, making sure it’s something they can pass down to their children and grandchildren. When you talk to consumers, their idea of sustainability is much different and much more to do with environmental stewardship. We felt it was so important to add some other words that we thought were critical when we started to define sustainability:
Leann Saunders, President and Co-Founder, went on to add,
“I think one thing that has become apparent is this demand around communication and communication around sustainability practices. What does sustainability mean? How do we help them verify and continuously improve sustainability on their operations for the future? How do we then also still communicate what they’re doing with consumers in a way that’s transparent and authentic. It’s all about the producer looking at the opportunity and aligning their values with the consumers they want to try and approach and then recognizing that third-party verification is so important in the marketplace today because it’s all about trust but verify.”
It is our hope that the stories we share help demonstrate our transparency to you. We strive to continue to be open and accessible with all aspects of our programs. This means communicating about the care of the animals and earth through our values and our pillars. From the food, water and cleanliness of animal housing to the care of the people and communities that support the farms, it all matters. Farmers and ranchers have a desire to communicate with you about the care they take in raising your food and that’s why it’s a desire of Where Food Comes From to highlight as many of our partner farms, ranches and growers as possible.
It’s no secret we love supporting our communities and our farmers. We have more than 100 farms and ranches that are now CARE Certified, all of which will soon be making their way to your grocery store. One thing you can count on when you see CARE Certified product, is that they all have a vested in providing you with authentic, transparent and sustainable food options.
We know that the options at the store are overwhelming, which is why third-party verification and certification is so critical. You need the right information to narrow your decisions. When you see our claims on packaging at your local grocery you can have confidence in those products. You can trust that the product came from a verifiable source. We know them, we audit them and verify their products come from where they say they do. It is our hope that, through us, you come to know some of them too. Just like the tree, our values are rooted deep.
Learn more about WFCF CARE.