The Cruelty Solution on our Phones

Priscilla Reynolds was by her own admission a “mindless meat eater,” but when a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) came to her central Illinois county, a switch flipped in her brain. Experiencing and then understanding the repercussions of its effects on the community, environment and the animals themselves brought her to a new awareness and caused a permanent shift to buying only ethically and humanely raised meat for her family.

       Now vice president of the nonprofit advocacy group Crate Free Illinois (, Reynolds hopes more people will make the switch to clean meat, thanks to the group’s Crate Free Illinois mobile app, listing local farmers that sell meat, dairy and eggs. They plan to add retail stores and restaurants, too. So far, approximately 1,000 people have downloaded the app since its rollout at the end of last year.

       Presently, about 450 farms across Illinois are listed in the app’s database, as well as a few from surrounding states. “People are so ingrained in their diet choices. Too may people are mindlessly purchasing and consuming,” says Reynolds. “I was just a thoughtless consumer; I’d buy whatever was the lowest price, and meat was a central part of every meal.”

       Crate Free Illinois, started in 2014, also wants to raise awareness of what they believe are the dangers of large-scale factory farms that can span thousands of acres and which have developed a reputation for polluting surrounding areas and confining animals in high-density living conditions. “One of the major problems is people who are completely unaware of what happens to food animals,” says Crate Free Illinois founder and President Jessica Chipkin. “People are very disconnected from what happens to the animals.”

Animals raised for food deserve a decent life.

~ Jessica Chipkin, Crate Free Illinois founder and president

       Chipkin, who does not eat meat, calls herself a realist when it comes to getting people to change their dining habits, noting, “Pushing people away from factory farms requires us to embrace meat eaters and encourage them to purchase from local farmers who pasture raise their animals. That’s the only way we’re going to make changes. If we did to dogs and cats what we do to pigs and chickens on factory farms, we’d be charged with animal cruelty. Animals raised for food deserve a decent life.”

       The Crate Free Illinois app came about last summer after Chipkin, who works in marketing and public relations, met with David Jelinek, one of her clients. His company, Creatix (, which designs apps and software, was in search of a nonprofit to partner with. The app filters entries by animal product type from bison to veal, as well as eggs and dairy, and allows users to contact small farmers near them that provide the food.

Crate Free Illinois is always looking for volunteers. Download the app at For more information, visit

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Enjoying August’s Harvest

Bleuroot is the site of an exquisite farm to table summer feast being held August 23 to benefit the Illinois Farmers Market Association. All food, wine and spirits served will feature local products in amazing flavor combinations.

A Quick Summer Supper

Spiralize the zucchini. Choose a setting that resembles pasta noodles.

Breaking Bread with Local Grains

Ellen King, head baker and co-founder of Hewn Bakery (, in Evanston, missed eating the really good, rustic European breads found in European bakeries after moving back to the Chicago area.

Strawberry Fruit Salsa

This is a fruit salsa that could be made with most any fruit, but strawberries give it a fresh, summer flavor.

The Perfect Smoothie to Start the Day

Many people find it difficult to enjoy breakfast, despite its reputation as the most important meal of the day. It may be the hectic rush of our morning routines or maybe we just don’t feel hungry yet.

Add your comment:
Edit ModuleShow Tags

See More »This Month

Whole Body Thermometry

Whole body thermometry (WBT) is a safe, accurate, hassle-free way to scan the body for functional imbalances.

Women’s Conference Supports Entrepreneurs

The Dynamic Professional Women’s Network (DPWN) will present its annual Dynamic Women’s Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., October 14th.

Pick a Local Beach and Help Clean it Up

25th Annual Adopt-a-Beach event on September 17

Restore That Healthy Head of Hair

Halo Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, in Northfield, is now offering platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment for hair regrowth.

Reconnect With Nature in City or Suburbs

Nature therapist Kim Spelman leads multiple outings in September.

Know Your True Self Class Enrollment Begins

Solful Gifts, in Wheeling, is hosting a six-month Know Your True Self program with the first class starting from 7 to 9:30 p.m., October 18th.