Livadi "The Meadow"

While organic and sustainably grown vegetables are abound in Bulgaria, you have an incredibly tough time finding the same for eggs and meat, without knowing the producer personally. This is mostly because of the rules and regulations created by the government, which are intended to keep us safe, in actuality they deny us the right to choose clean and sustainably raised food over the questionable offerings readily available at the grocery shops.

Through my website, I frequently get questions on where to find meat, poultry and eggs and unfortunately I have nothing to offer, but my research lead me to find Philip Haramandjiev from Chiflik Livadi (meadow), and also owner of the Damianitza winery. I first read about him in an article for Light and then in the same week a friend of mine made an introduction; we got to meet and chat about food, agriculture and Joel Salatin.

Meeting Philip was quite inspiring, his ideas about food and animal raising mirror my own, particularly our appreciation of Joel Salatin’s pasture based farming methods and other influential names in the sustainable food movement. At his farm, in Damianitza he is using the life cycle of animal to build soil health and structure, which contributes to his animals being higher in nutritional value, health and of course flavor. 
Pasture based farming allows the animals to roam and graze freely on fresh grass, but the method that Philip employs helps to ensure that the grass is as nutritious as possible by using a rotation system to keep balance in the field and eliminate the elements that people most associate with animal farms, the smell and flies.
The idea is quite simple, cattle are allowed to graze on a field sectioned offed by portable electric fences. This small area, will provide them with an adequate amount of grass for one day, as they will be moved to the next section, without over grazing and destroying the grass structure. After three days, an “egg mobile”, a moveable hen house will be rolled into the same area and will eat the fly larvae before they hatch and scratch the manure into the soil and aerating it, while contributing their own deposits. Once the chickens are finished this section of the pasture will be allowed to rest and regrow for 3 – 4 weeks, till the cattle return almost a month later and the process starts again.

In organic or sustainable farming, the relationship between the animal and the soil is of utmost importance. Human interference into this natural process, which has been occurring long before our presence on this planet, and in the past 200 years through industrial agriculture, we have lost sight of the intrinsic value of this relationship.

If you want to find out more about Philip and his farm, which is located 6km south from Sandanski in the Damianitza winery or you can visit them on the website for Chiflik Livadi, where you can become a member to have access to fresh food in Sofia through his mobile shop, MobiMag. 
Email: pile@livadi.bg
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