It does sound like the grave diggers of civilization are at it again:
Tag Archives: sustainability
“Getting Real about the High Price of Cheap Food” is the title of this story on the state of agriculture in America — which is certainly something everyone should care about these days. Here’s an excerpt from this recent Time magazine story. The big news here is that such a mainstream news source as TIME is taking up this issue in a serious way — this may mean we’re approaching a tipping point in public awareness.
“Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won’t bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench.
He’s fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he’ll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That’s the state of your bacon — circa 2009.
Here’s an excerpt from a fascinating story of one unconventional American farmer who’s been getting a lot of media attention for his sustainable and healthy farming practices, which were first featured in Michael Pollan’s book, “In Defense of Food”. From the story by Joshua Hatch on USA Today titled “‘Natural patterns’ of farming touted in documentary”:
“SWOOPE, Va. – The white metal sign over the desk at Polyface Farm reads, “Joel Salatin: Lunatic Farmer.”
Salatin is proud of that label. “I’m a third-generation lunatic,” he boasts while standing in his lush, green central Virginia fields. Brown chickens strut and peck around his feet. “I don’t do anything like average farmers do,” he says.
What the 52-year-old farmer does is let his cows feed on grass instead of corn or grain. He moves his cows to new fields daily. Flocks of chickens scratch around open fields, spreading cow droppings, eating flies and larvae, and laying eggs in the Salatin-built eggmobile. Hogs forage in the woods or in a pasture house where they root through cow manure, wood chips and corn. The resulting compost gets spread back over the fields, fertilizing the grass for the cattle. That completes the cycle. Continue reading