In farming news, I was heartened by this editorial by Tom Vlisak, Secretary of Agriculture about his plans for revitalizing rural America. There’s still more in there for Big Ag than I really like, especially the biofuels stuff (we still haven’t figured out a way to make a biofuel that doesn’t require more fuel to grow, harvest, ship and process than it generates), but this point cheered me up:
Third, link local farm production to local consumption. Investments in local processing and storage facilities will allow for large scale consumers (e.g. schools, hospitals, small colleges) in rural communities to buy locally produced goods from smaller scale operations. These new and niche markets will leverage the wealth generated from the land, create jobs and repopulate rural communities.
Michael Pollan’s twitter feed (I’m still trying to get a handle on twitter — it’s a great time-waster, and I’ve found links to interesting things, but I think there’s something I’m still not getting). Anyhow, via Michael Pollan’s twitter feed, I found this link to an interview with Joel Salatin in the Guardian UK. Although he talks about a lot of really interesting topics in the profile, including the incursion of superbugs into our food supply, the problem of antibiotic overuse, land use models (which I wonder how well they’d translate to someplace like this where it doesn’t rain much), as well as speaking with real self-awareness about how he and his wife have handled his public career, I thought I’d pull this quote for those few people who have occasionally taken issue with my stance on eating meat:
The first thing I ask Salatin when we sit down in his living room is whether he’s ever considered becoming a vegetarian. It’s not what I had planned to say, but we’ve been in the hoop houses with the nicely treated hens, all happily pecking and glossy-feathered, and I’ve held one in my arms. Suddenly it makes little sense that this animal, whose welfare has been of such great concern, will be killed in a matter of days. Naive, I know, and Salatin seems surprised. “Never crossed my mind,” he says. The problem that’s leading the “animals-are-people movement”, as he refers to it, is two-fold, in his view. First: “The industrial food system is so cruel and so horrific in its treatment of animals. It never asks the question: ‘Should a pig be allowed to express its pig-ness?’ And the second thing of course is the urbanisation of the world, to the point where people are not now connected to their ecological umbilical, so that the only connection anyone has to an animal is a pet cat or a pet dog. And that really gives you a very jaundiced view of cycles of life – death, regeneration.”