Monthly Archives: November 2009

We Are All in This Together Folks

It seems like every time I log on to twitter I see people who all want the same thing: safe, sustainable food – fighting and bickering with each other. I think a lot of the fighting boils down to miss-education or not enough education about agriculture. We all want this utopia of perfection agriculture. The problem with that is there is no such thing. There is no one perfect ag method, application or niche that would work for the entire ag industry. The fact is, ag is far too varied. What works for my neighbors might not work for me. Agricultural in Central California is very different from agriculture in North Dakota.

Organic, natural, CAFO, grass fed, animal welfare approved, sustainably farmed, free-range, urban, tradition – these are all labels that we apply to farming. But what are these labels? What do they mean? Who gets to define them? Am I better farmer if I pay a third party to certify that I treat my animals with compassion or I don’t spray too many chemicals? Am I better than my neighbor because my land, financial situation, and marketing abilities enable me to sell my cattle as CAB candidates or as “natural”?

I’ve been called and accused of a lot things during my time on twitter. I’m an elitist, I’ve been brain washed by “big ag”, I am “big ag”, I’m a shill, I hate urban farmers, I stand for nothing, I spend my money on iphones, whiskey and video games instead of organic, sustainable food (which I actually grow – for a living). Some of the things I’m accused of simply make me scratch my head – why must we get so personal if we disagree?

My soapbox is simple. I think all types of agriculture are needed if we want to continue to feed ourselves. Now why that statement makes a certain population of people bloodthirsty I will never know. Yes – we will need the organic farmers, the urban farmers, the “traditional” farmers. But before that can happen we need to unite as farmers and ranchers. This “I’m organic so that makes me better than you” needs to stop. This “I’m grass fed so I’m better than your corn fed” needs to stop. Different types of ag work for different people. We need to remember that organic isn’t always better. Big isn’t necessarily bad, small doesn’t always mean good.

“Traditional”, organic, urban or backyard gardener – we all need to be able to speak civilly to each other. We need to be vocal about what and why we do what we do. Urban farmers need to reach out to “traditional” farmers before they attack them over books, movies or articles that may or may not be true. “Traditional” farmers need to reach out to urban farmers to explain our practices before we are attacked. We all need to truthfully educate our consumers about agriculture.

We are all in this together folks. Let’s act like it.

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Filed under Ag, agriculture, animals, Beef, food, Know a California Farmer, Ranch life, Rants, Uncategorized

Who Has The Time?

It wasn’t until I was an adult with a “normal” life- an off the farm job, commute, school, boyfriend and social life did I comprehend how much work it is to grow, shop, clean, prepare and cook three healthy meals a day. In fact, many times it just wasn’t feasible for me to cook at all.

During my “normal” life I was unable to make a simple 30 minute meal let alone my normal pesto, stocks, butters, jams and jellies that I normally do. I certainly didn’t have enough room in my ex-boyfriend’s house to store my tools let alone all of food I made. I purchased a lot of convenience foods and went out a lot because I was simply too tired to shop, clean, prepare and cook. I was grateful that I could just go to the store and buy pre-made dinner. It wasn’t as good as my cooking but it was warm and cheap and I was busy and poor. Of course my “normal” life lasted a couple of months before I decided that ranch life was waaaayyyyyy better.

Recent movements, books and movies have made people more interested in where their food comes from. Celebrity chefs and TV shows are making cooking understandable and exciting. At least for some.

Many people simply do not care or do not have time to care about food. That is such a surprising premise to many of us – not salivate over every meal? Not plan the next meal as soon as you are finished with the one you just ate?

“Cook from scratch, can, freeze, and bring raw foods prep & storage back home- Joel Salatin”

The above twitter post directed at me from a profooder seemed to infer that it is just that easy and cheap to prepare homemade food. And of course it can be, if you have the knowledge, space, tools, time and drive to do such things.  My point to this whole blog is that many people don’t have the time, knowledge or want to cook from scratch. Many people don’t have the space to store food.

What I am saying here is it’s wonderful if you have the time, knowledge, space, tools and drive to make all your own food – but don’t expect everyone to want to do the same. Realize that people have circumstances beyond their control that prevent them from churning their own butter, or raising their own chickens. It doesn’t make people bad if they can’t cook, or they can’t garden. It certainly shouldn’t exclude them from any food movements.

I don’t understand why some certain food movements can’t be a little more realistic. I’m not trying to belittle or attack anyone here. I just don’t understand how an average person has the time to cultivate food, shop, cook, clean, freeze, can, preserve and store every meal.

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