Today’s level of farming ignorance is unprecedented in history—including all time and all cultures. Never have so many people in a civilization been able to be this far removed from their food umbilical.
An acquaintance of mine, Jenna Woginrich of Cold Antler Farm just received her order of 45 baby chicks today and posted part of an article written by Joel Salatin in response to those who would criticize the practice of sending chicks through the mail. Joel has the ability to explain in very simple terms why it is possible to have chicks comfortably make the trip from his farm to your house and remain perfectly healthy. He also wrote this article out of frustration and I’m sure that anyone that raises animals for food can appreciate that but I think everyone needs to read the article. The article is called Rebel With a Cause: Anthropomorphism Against Farms, take a few minutes to read it, maybe read it to your kids, you will all learn something.
I grew up when most of our meat was grown ourselves or my father shot in the woods. Sounds backwards and like I am some kind of hick doesn’t it? I think something is lost when you don’t make an effort to know where your food comes from. I believe you have to see their faces, understand what they are and what they give to you, sustenance. I believe you need to know the kinds of lives that these animals have led and what kind of deaths that they have had in order to make peace with the fact that you are an omnivore and flesh is part of your diet. Factory farming is farming at its worst, the only thing this is about is the almighty dollar, produce as much as you can as cheaply as possible. It’s all about volume.
The frightening part to me is now everything you can buy in a grocery store comes from some sort of high volume farming situation. If you want to know what is in your food you need to seek out the farmers of every single ingredient, visit their farms if possible and buy it directly from them. I am fortunate to live in an area where there are many farmers of various kinds. There is a small, family run dairy right down the street from my house in Enfield. Smyth’s Trinity Farm takes dairy farming to a new (old) level in my mind. I go there to pick up my dairy products and see all of the girls either in the pasture or in the stanchions in a very clean barn chewing their cuds and seeming very content. All of their products are processed right there. Once you start drinking and cooking with their milk, half and half and cream you will never go back to what passes as milk in the grocery store, you realize that you are being lied to about what they are selling you – it looks like milk but it doesn’t taste like milk.
Maybe that’s the problem, we’ve been lied to for so long that we now see what passes for food and something good and wholesome because it says so on the box. We’ve lost our way, we really don’t know what is good and what is crap. The gap seems to grow wider everyday. If you’re reading this you could maybe Google GMO corn, or Monsanto, or the difference between wheat 20 years ago and now. I can promise you it’s not pleasant reading, any of it, but it pays to educate yourself, you need to know what’s happening to us because of the profitability of big Ag.
Someone that reads my blog commented on what I really eat and if I was somewhat of a hypocrite. In a word, yes. I think we all are complicit in the problem with factory farming on every level. I cook at home a lot of the time from scratch but even those recipes handed down for generations use ingredients that are now questionable. It would require me to do a LOT of research to make some of my favorite meals from total scratch and I have not figured out how to replace American Cheese . . . sigh. So I may not always cook as fresh and local as I want to for every meal but you can be assured that I think about and calculate what is going into it. Then I make a decision about how bad I want that meal and at least know (and try to justify) what I’m ingesting. Sometimes that’s the best you can do.