In Kari Underly’s professional career, she has been an educator, a consultant, a butcher, a business owner, and author and more. Range Meat Academy, she says, is the culmination of her life’s work. Range’s online meat training brings the art of butchery to students across the country. The school recently gained approval by the Illinois Board of Higher Education, allowing it to operate as a private business and a vocational school. Through Range’s online certification, Underly’s labor of love will help bring new butchers into an industry where those skills are suddenly in high demand.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10,000 women have entered the retail field of meat and seafood markets in the last decade. Their increased presence has come as the demand for local meat has risen: Consumers want to know where meat is coming from, how it was raised and butchered, and that it is healthy and safe.
This weekend in Boston, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics held it’s annual conference. As a dietitian, I was sent a few special invitations to attend receptions and visit booths. Nestle wanted me to attend their “sustainable nutrition” reception so they could tell me all about their tube feeding products, and Monsanto wanted me to stop by their booth to talk with a local farmer about how Monsanto’s role in sustainable agriculture. I’m not kidding.
Kari Underly, a third generation butcher, was introduced to the trade by her father at Underly’s Market, a butcher shop and ice cream parlor in South Bend, Indiana. At the age of 21 Kari entered a three-year meat cutting apprenticeship program and became a journeyman meat cutter with Martin’s Super Market in South Bend.
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