Firsthand Foods is a Durham business that connects North Carolina’s pasture-based livestock producers with local retail and restaurant customers. Founded by Jennifer Curtis and Tina Prevatte Levy, Firsthand Foods has developed a network of farmers who raise animals humanely, on pasture, without feeding antibiotics or using added hormones.
B Corps are for-profit businesses committed to creating positive social and environmental impacts. March is B Corp Month and Firsthand Foods is joining thousands of other businesses to demonstrate how B Corps “go beyond” business as usual. Co-Founders Tina Prevatte Levy and Jennifer Curtis (pictured left to right above) tell us in their own words how Firsthand Foods goes beyond business as usual.
Q: Why did you decide to become a B Corp?
Tina: Firsthand Foods has always been a mission-driven business with social and environmental goals that go beyond just making a profit. We see B Corp certification as a way to have a third-party assess how we are doing comprehensively, benchmark our business practices and policies within the broader B Corp movement, and identify ways we can improve. We also see it as a way to network with other value-aligned businesses.
Jennifer: When we started Firsthand Foods 12 years ago, we were deeply concerned about the state of the meat industry in this country. And, sadly, not much has changed. There are still so many injustices built into the system of meat production – degradation of land, air, and water; health impacts on workers and nearby communities; overuse of antibiotics; inhumane animal handling, to name a few. We decided to start a business that would give market access to farmers who don’t contribute to these problems and “go beyond business as usual.”
Q: How do you meet B Corp standards and go beyond?
Jennifer: We source livestock in a manner that is quite unique. We’ve cultivated a network of producers that supply us year-round with the volume of animals we need and the quality we expect. These are all small-scale family farmers who would otherwise not have access to the kinds of markets we sell into. We negotiate together and settle on prices that enable them to make a profit while still staying small. More than 75% of the revenues we bring in go back to the farmers and processors in our network. And of course we insist on production standards that are way outside the norm. All of our animals are pasture-raised without growth-promoting antibiotics or added hormones, and our pigs and lamb are Animal Welfare Approved, meeting the highest standards for animal welfare.