you know me. yes, I am a hippie, but I like to think that I am not a PETA crazy (I conceptually support several of PETA
's and AFA
's causes and directions, but am much more of a "cruelty-free" person than an "animal liberation" person).
that said, when Action for Animals dropped a link to this virtual battery cage
in my inbox, I was obviously disturbed. (ps: please check it out. or at least read up on the conditions of laying hens and broiler hens. even taken conservatively and with a grain of salt, it's terrible -- and I know that at least 70-85% of what is said here is true and not that
exaggerated because I had a friend at Bowdoin whose family farmed laying hens and meat hens for large companies like Campbell's.) but here's the deal.
at the same time as I know that animals are treated HORRENDOUSLY by large-market and corporate agriculture, I also know that people are going to continue to want to eat meat, dairy, eggs, honey, et cetera. in addition, I am in the fortunate position to be interacting with local, sustainable, careful and caring
producers of these legitimate food items on a regular basis. so I get to say this: it's not about whether you eat animal products (or plant products that have a history of destructive or exploitative farming/harvesting practices, or whatever). it's about which
products you eat. it's about taking the time to know your producer. support the people who deserve your support.
and, when at all possible, keep it local.
I truly believe that in this time of economic shittiness that's more important than ever
for those of you in the milwaukee/madison/wisconsin area, for eggs we have Yuppie Hill Farm. Willy Street Co-Op
has a great article profiling Lynn's treatment of her birds, along with the practices of New Century Farms and Phil's Fresh Eggs (I only mention Yuppie Hill in particular because they're what we sell at Outpost, and I've had the privilege of talking to Lynn and to other Outpost owners and employees who have visited her farm. I know personally and without a doubt that she is Good People).( text of the Yuppie Hill segment of the posting beneath the cut )
so to everyone who's actually stuck with me and read through this post, I thank you sincerely
and I gently urge you, just try it.
try finding one local supplier (use google; it's easy), one farmer or baker or butcher or co-op or roadside stand or farmer's market. visit them. talk to them about their food and their farms; they're their passions. their homes. then start buying. start with one.
it's easy. work up to more if you feel comfortable (or if you fall as deeply in love as I have) and if you're fortunate enough to have a wide selection (you'd be surprised. once you know where to look, things start popping up everywhere
). it'll make your life better, and it'll make the world a little better, too. also, go ahead and share the knowledge. link this post (and any other posts I make on the subject, because I assure you there will be others) to people. this isn't some wild evangelization run, just a hope that with enough people who care enough to open their minds and their hearts we can get the word out. we can begin to enact a change.
and finally, to Lynn Lein of Yuppie Hill Farm
, Wil Allen of Growing Power
, Chris and Krista of Tomato Mountain
, the farmers of Tipi Produce
, and everyone else I can't think of off the top of my head, and everyone else across the country and around the world who are working to make better food for a better planet, even though I know you will never read this, THANK YOU and CARRY ON. you make the world so much brighter than you know.