Americans eat at least 20 billion burgers a year. Most of those burgers come from animals raised on polluting factory-farms that are fed a diet of water-intensive GMO corn and soy. Raising vast monocultures of feed uses large amounts of toxic chemicals that pollute our water and our bodies. It also generates major greenhouse gas emissions and destroys precious biodiversity that support pollinators and other living creatures.
Most of those burgers are processed by four large meat companies that control over 80% of the market. Independent ranchers are often at the mercy of these concentrated markets and cheap competition, making it difficult for them to secure a fair price and get their healthier, more humanely raised animal products to market.
And while consumer demand is surging for grass-fed meat, U.S. producers are losing out as increasing amounts of grass-fed meat are being imported from abroad at cheaper prices.
What if we could increase markets for domestic sustainable farmers and ranchers, cut greenhouse gas emissions, pesticide, water and fertilizer use and still enjoy a tasty, healthier, better burger? We can!
A better beef burger replaces at least 30 percent of a typical grain-fed burger with mushrooms, legumes or vegetables (ideally USDA Organic). You can then use the money saved to buy better quality grass-fed or organic beef that comes from well managed animals raised humanely on pasture without routine antibiotics or hormones. A better veggie burger is made with certified organic veggies, legumes and grains. More on our criteria is here.
With inspiration from the James Beard Foundation and Menus of Change, hundreds of chefs around the country have already created tasty recipes that take advantage of the dynamic flavor created by blending mushrooms and beef. This challenge makes blended burgers even better by sourcing only from regenerative and organic farms and ranches.