You’re done with factory-farmed meats, and would rather know for sure that the person who’s raising the chickens and cows you’re eating is doing so in a humane and sustainable manner. The best way to do this is to buy the meat directly from the farmer, not from the grocery store.

Luckily, you don’t have to live in the country to buy direct. New models of meat-buying are emerging that hook city folk up with ranchers and farmers. In one, farms offer subscriptions to meat CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) that give customers a steady grab bag of products. In another, a group of friends pool their resources and buy entire animals or parts of animals, and have plenty of meat in the freezer all year round. And in a third, people are forming neighborhood buying clubs, in which members order whatever cuts they want from a farm, and the farm delivers.

Here’s CHOW’s guide to the new models of meat-buying.

Lessley Anderson is senior editor at CHOW.

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