Thursday, April 11, 2013

CAFO Far From the Farm

From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Cafo Far From The Farm, arranged by Daria Kerridge in Columbia, was a huge success, according to friends who were able to attend. The 3-day event drew speakers from all over the United States, addressing problems like government financing of CAFOs, environmental degradation, corruption of the food supply and animal cruelty. All the events were held during my busy times—teaching and radio hosting—but I know plenty of folks who went. In fact, that’s the only complaint I’ve heard: Everyone there knew everyone else. It was the same group that shows up for all the foodie programs. My New Year’s Resolution for 2013 was to drag someone younger than myself to any presentation, lobby day, food meal, event, anything I go to. So far, the resolution has been good and I’ve had a great time with my young guests, neighbors or students. We usually go to a meal before or after and I drive so that they don’t have to buy gasoline. We talk about what we’ve seen or done, what we learned, what was good or bad about the presentation. It’s always worthwhile. If we don’t take the kids along, they can’t go. They’re so busy with school, work, dating, figuring out their futures…remember how you were at their age? They aren’t getting the same notices that we’re getting, so they don’t know about the events. And we need them to understand the food system. Every generation gets farther away from the farm, and the industrial system becomes normalized, they don’t know how to do things for themselves from raising food to foraging to cooking. They’re used to getting food wrapped in cellophane, poor dears. At the event last night, a panel discussion, John Ikerd told folks that farmers and consumers need to work together to solve the problems of industrial agriculture in the animal business. Folks who want good meat have to learn about the business and ask the farmers how they manage their animals. Farmers who want to work with the public have to listen to what they want. We can work it out, but we need to listen to each other, in an open and curious way. And that’s all for today. April 11, 2013.

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