New “cow sharing” services combat corporate farming

People’s obsession with protein is fueling a multi-billion dollar meal replacement market and opening the door for more plant-based meat alternatives, but for many young consumers, there's nothing like the real thing. Rather than settle for factory-farmed meat, some are turning to new cow share programs that let them opt for transparent, sustainable alternatives in line with the farm-to-table movement.


Crowd Cow uses a unique form of crowdfunding to sell its goods. Rather than raise money to launch a product, funds are raised to sell and portion out a cow. The startup, which recently raised $2 million in venture capital to expand its Western U.S. distribution to the East Coast, purchases cows from independent ranchers and sells specific cuts to consumers; the company handles the marketing, packaging, and shipping on behalf of the farmer. As with traditional crowdfunding platforms, customers are only charged if each part of the cow is claimed.


Meatme.co in Vancouver offers a more sustainable alternative to the traditionally high-impact process of meat production. Customers buy a share of a whole animal (cows, chickens, lambs, lambs, or pigs) and once funded, the company purchases the animal from the farmer, assuring zero meat waste. Meatme works with farmers who raise their animals ethically and holistically on natural pasture and who pledge not to use antibiotics, hormones, or chemical feed additives. Each order includes a variety of meat cuts and is less expensive than comparable products.


The CowShare was created by four fathers in Utah who wanted to give families an alternative to factory farmed meat by offering high-quality beef from grass-fed cows. Consumers join the CowShare co-op, which is thousands strong, and host a share by inviting friends and family to go in on the purchase of a cow. Each selects various cuts of beef to be delivered to their doors, and the host receives credits for the sales they bring in on their share. The company also aims to create transparency around the farm-to-table process through cooking classes, butcher demonstrations, and farm visits.