While plant-based diets are front-and-centre in the ethical eating conversation, some of us are simply carnivores. Fear not! Animal protein can still be produced and consumed ethically with organic and humane practices. Supporting local producers at area farmers’ markets is the easiest way to find multiple options all in one place.

Regina's Meats


When Cohen Rife was hired at Regina’s Fine Meats at the Crossroads Market 10 years ago, he was a man with a plan. Having worked on the production line at a small abattoir, he says he always knew he wanted to one-day run his own retail operation. So, to get experience on the other side of the meat business, he joined Regina’s operation. Having been in operation since 1984, Regina’s was the perfect training ground for Rife. When Regina announced her intention to retire five years ago, Rife was ready to step in and has since owned and operated the iconic Calgary butchery and meat market.

When it comes to ethical eating (and ethical shopping), Rife says a few things are relevant when choosing meat.

“Find a small, local provider near you that you like and are comfortable with,” he says. “Ask them questions. Find out where they get their products from.”

According to Rife, smaller producers are more likely to ensure their animals’ quality of life as well as more closely control their environment, food and other factors that can impact the quality and flavour of the meat.

Rife says he loves supporting local operations like Flying Heart Meats outside of Strathmore, a producer dedicated to sustainable ranching practices, water conservation, soil health and the humane treatment of animals. He says what happens on the farm directly impacts the quality of the meat that ends up on his customers’ plates.

During our visit, Rife recommended a Berkshire/Hampshire-cross porkchop from Lodge Farms near Cochrane finished on the Loop Program, which redirects unsalable food from grocery stores to farm animals to reduce waste.

Regina’s Fine Meats | Crossroads Market | 1235 26th Ave. S.E. |   403.836.4690 | @reginasfinemeats

Sunworks Farm


Food allergies, a passion for the environment and a 10-day holistic farm management course were the catalysts for Ron and Sheila Hamilton to leave the city life and buy a farm in 1992. The goal: to manage their land, livestock, people and finances in a manner that is environmentally friendly and economically and socially sound.

Over the following decade, the couple transformed Sunworks first to organic hay production, and then to raising beef, chicken, pork, lamb and turkey organically, humanely and sustainably.

sunworks farms photo

In the summer of 1998, Sunworks ventured into the farmers’ markets for the first time at the now-closed Blackfoot Market. In 2000, they started at the Strathcona farmers market in Edmonton and in 2004, they joined the fun at the Calgary Farmers’ Market.

We found them at the new CFM West location and we’re keen to try their organic, gluten-free, certified-human Fennel and Spice sausage!

Sunworks Farms | Calgary Farmers’ Market West | 25 Greenbriar Dr. N.W. | sunworksfarm.com