Friday, July 23, 2010

Sustainable Beef

There is a lot of talk of healthy sustainable food around. Fantastic authors like Michael Pollan and Barbara Kinsgsolver bring us a wealth of information about our food sources and the "American Diet". Yes, the information is all out there, there is no more excuse for ignorance, but how many of us actually take a proactive approach and decide to control what food comes into our body?

I know a lot of people choose to be vegetarians as a humanitarian choice for the rights of animals. I am sure most people would not want to eat the meat, milk and eggs from factory farms if they were really confronted with what goes on behind those walls.
The logical alternative seems to just do a 180 and turn your back on that awful reality and stop supporting it. The problem is that being a vegetarian does NOT stop supporting the factory farm / industrial agriculture system. Every time you open a package containing food you have done it again. Be it tofurky or soymilk, they are just as much the products of a NON SUSTAINABLE system as a feed lot cow is.

So what is the alternative?

Thank goodness there is one and its easier and less expensive than we imagine! Its LOCAL food. Best would be LOCAL ORGANIC food!!!

Local food means get to know your farmer! Means supporting small family farms versus the big multinational corporations. It means keeping money and resources in your area, saving fuel, pollution and packaging materials.

"But I live in Los Angeles (New York etc..)" you will say "and I have NO time to take trips to look for farmers to buy food, I barely even have time to eat!!!"
Well even in the big city we have choices now! There is farmers markets everywhere, on almost every day of the week. There you can really meet your farmers, and if you can basically shop once for the whole week.
You can order a CSA box. (Community Supported Agriculture) That will make it even easier, as you will not have to spend time thinking about what to buy, it comes packaged for you, fresh, plentiful and seasonal. They also include recipes for the veggies they include.
At the farmers market you can also meet small local cattle and poultry farmers. They are usually able to take orders and you can buy a whole or partial steer that will then be processed and delivered to you neatly packaged and frozen.

That is what Deb, our mentor and landlord here did. She purchased half a free range organic steer from the Book Farm, the same one where we get our raw milk.
The animals are grown on free pasture, never confined (except to the barn when is cold) and never fed grains. When the time to process them comes they are humanely slaughtered then brought to a small facility in the nearby town of Durham where the meat is cut and packed.
From there we pick it up and bring it home neatly vacuum packed and frozen.

From the farm to our table the meat did not travel more than 40 miles. We know that the animals we are eating led peaceful, stress free lives on the pastures, eating what Nature designed a cow to eat. Their manure did not pollute the water ways and the ground as it was composted and used in a vegetable garden. They were not injected with antibiotics and hormones, as they were a healthy breed eating healthy food from a healthy soil free of pesticides.

This is a sustainable cycle.
One that could continue far into the future, like it came from a far past. Humans have lived in harmony within natural cycles for thousands of years, until they decided to start taking shortcuts....

Well enough moralizing, the bottom line is that we had a delicious meal healthy for us and for our Earth, and with just a little step outside the comfort zone of the usual, we can all do that!


Joel Salatin, the guru of sustainable farming.

A great photographic story of the process of buying an organic steer:

All about local sustainable food:

A farmers market locator

Michael Pollan

Barabara Kingsolver

1 comment:

  1. After writing this post I found a very interesting article about the same subject. Except the article is much better written than my blog entry...


About Me

Forest Ranch, CA, United States
Omnatura was born in 2005 as a line of handmade jewellery in collaboration with artisans in the poor areas of the northeast of Brazil. Since then it has expanded to different countries, and has grown more and more into a concept for living. I am Vivica, the creator of Omnatura, and when my visions and priorities started shifting and expanding, I decided to let my business expand and shift with them. After all Omnatura could be translated into "All-Natural" (from the Latin base "omni" and "naturae"), and my life has been strongly moving towards this all-natural state.... After living in the city of Los Angeles for the last 17 years, and the city of Milano for many years before that, the call back to nature finally became reality this year in April, when we moved to the small community if Forest Ranch in Northern California. My dreams of self-sufficiency and threading lightly on this much abused planet are now becoming reality. A different pace of life, and still managing my business of sustainable with more integrity than ever!