Dear slow food people:
You are breaking my heart that you are not supporting Issue 2.
Preliminary research on Facebook indicates that HSUS has been successful so far to pit some small-scale farmers against large-scale farmers over Issue 2. They normally prefer to get the pork industry fighting with the soybean industry, or the dairy industry fighting with the poultry or something, but now they’ve tricked you into thinking that this board they’re trying to make won’t help you–or worst of all, will hurt you.
This breaks my heart into several locally grown pesticide-free pieces. (Injected with hormones!!)
The most hilarious part about all this is that I am such a flippin’ slow foodie myself. I grow effing chickens in my backyard and eat their eggs, and, under somewhat less hectic circumstances during the summer, I grow food in my yard to bring to the table for dinner. I can vegetables for meals in the winter. I shop at the farmer’s market and even took a class to sell produce there myself. Sometimes my bread comes from EIGHT MILES AWAY FROM MY HOUSE. It is not rare to have a meal at the Teter household that is entirely produced within 200 feet. My husband singlehandedly sustains the Amish pie industry. Look at all the pumpkin puree in my freezer.
But for me, that way of life, that preference, that close connection to my food supply, does not translate into a hate for industrial agriculture. Why do we have all the hate?
This non-translation is solely the result of the people I have met accompanying my husband on trips for work. He works at the Ohio Farm Bureau, which wrote Issue 2. Gawd, I wish I could take you with me.
In the last two days, I’ve been to two separate rallies for Issue 2, and the composition of the groups is so inspiring. I feel REALLY GROSS that I have enjoyed some kind of political involvement. As a journalist, this feels naive and undemocratic.
BUT DEAR SLOW FOODIES: You were not at these rallies-turned-boring-informational meetings. Please come to the one in Columbus. You are the only ones who care about where your food comes from, so I think you might find it interesting.
I implore you to talk to the guy who wakes up every morning knowing, like, 1.5 million meals BEGIN ON HIS FARM THAT DAY or something insane.
He raises hogs and he thinks long and hard about properly caring for his animals and he wrestles with the best way to feed the world and I KNOW YOU SLOW FOODIE. I KNOW how great it makes you feel to meet the person who has prepared your meal and I KNOW if you talk to these “factory farmer” people for FIVE SECONDS you would understand why they, after much research and thought and experience, have put their sows in gestation crates, and you would understand why they keep egg layers in cages, and you don’t have to agree because we are three or four generations removed from agriculture.
Farmers don’t expect us to know what is best for a pig, (who can really know that, anyway?!) but they know reform is coming and they’re willing to phase out all that stuff if you decide you don’t like it for some reason because YOUR TRUST is important to them.
That’s why hard-working middle-aged men are hopping off their tractors at nightfall in the middle of harvest and TWITTERING.
TWITTERING FOR GOD’S SAKE. PROBABLY OVER A DIAL-UP.
And they mean it when they say that AFFORDABLE FOOD IS A SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUE, (yes, conservative rural people use the words “social justice.” I know, right?!) and the farmer from India says “why do Americans want to increase the cost of food production? We spend 50 percent of our incomes on groceries and we are starving over here and it sucks.”
I KNOW your heart would soften toward BIG AGRIBUSINESS if you learn what it is.
I wish you would understand, SLOW FOODIE, that there are SMART PEOPLE WITH LOTS OF MONEY WHO DO NOT WANT HUMANS TO CONSUME MEAT, MILK AND EGGS, and that these people have a right to think it’s morally wrong to consume animals, and that this is totally cool, but it is NOT COOL to chip away at the food industry by with piecemeal legislation and ballot initiatives that outlaw certain practices here and certain practices there.
That’s the kind of bullshit that RELIGIOUS RIGHT OR ANTI-ABORTION TYPES TRY TO PULL OFF.
We need a board full of scientists, vets and farmers to look at these issues. I’m serious.
Because when these RICH SMART PEOPLE are done with the veal, poultry and pork industries, they’ll find new fault with the dairy and the beef and the goat industries (they already have lists of offenses) and this will not be good for the grain industries, because they’ll have no livestock left to feed their grain to. And then they’ll come up with more things that are immoral and should be outlawed, like FORCING ANIMALS TO LIVE ON A FARM AND NOT IN THE WILD WHERE THEY BELONG ONLY TO BE SLAUGHTERED FOR FOOD!!!
And then, they’ll take issue with you, small-scale farmer, and your profit margins are a lot tighter than the big guys. And you won’t be able to as easily absorb the cost of their ideas of “humane reform.” And ultimately, the reform they would prefer is a world where NO ANIMALS ARE CONSUMED FOR MEAT OR USED TO PRODUCE MEAT OR EGGS. That is where it ends on the sliding scale. Nothing will be “humane” until this is achieved.
Is this kind of world totally unrealistic? Absolutely. But where do we stop? Do we outlaw laying cages and then disband and go home? Not likely.
I love you slow foodie. I am one of you. (shhhhhhhhhhhhh) But you are a niche. And you need a strong industry to protect your nichiness. And you cannot feed the world. You cannot even come close.
And I am kind of glad right now that HSUS is not giving you any money to fight Issue 2, because I really hope that it passes and that we can start good work through the legislature to bring reasoned, scientific reform to agriculture. So that cruel farmers and bad managers of livestock won’t be able to exist anymore. Because there will be rules against that sort of thing in Ohio. Imagine that.
I HATE CARING ABOUT AN ISSUE SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!
This blog would be a lot more fun if I didn’t.
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