Thursday, December 10, 2009

Not That I Don't Love Mother Earth But . . .

Clearly NPR is following my blog. Or maybe CAFOs are a hot topic, you know, whatever. Regardless, NPR is running what seems like a series on CAFOs dairy farms. Yesterday's story was on New Mexico's dairy farm issues and today's was on an Ohio farmer's efforts to improve the situation.

The part that stuck most with me from the first story was the people who 'knew dairy farms' and said the situation had to change. A lot of the issues surrounding the lack of change in the dairy world is that the farmer's either don't want to change because it costs too much or they actually can't afford it or big Ag cares more about the bottom line (ahem, supported by the federal government, ahem). But in this story, people who grew up in dairy farms, in dairy farm towns and actually understand the way the system works are actively interested in change.

The Ohio farmer's story was interesting to me because he talks about the flavor but not as much about the effects on the cows and what they produce. I've said it before and I'll say it over and over: eating whole foods that are sustainably grown are worth it for the cost and flavor. I'm not saying you should eat organics because they're better for you. I'm not saying you should eat whole foods because your liver likes it or whatever crazy story you read about in the free magazines at Whole Foods' check out line.

Not convinced? A case study from my own life:

I'm half of a two person household. We've used various methods to bring food into our kitchen from straight grocery shopping to produce delivery to almost exclusive farmer's market foods. We used to go to the grocery store two or three times per week (we live in a city and our building is right next to a grocery store) and spent between $150 to $250 per week depending on the time of year. Last weekend we went to the farmer's market and purchased an entire week's worth of fruit, vegetables and meats for $100. Now, we do still go to the grocery store to purchase (whole, organic) milk and things like toilet paper or garlic if we run out but the price of these is pretty nominal. In fact, adding it up we spent about $30 this week at the grocery store on additional items and, um, a portion of that was beer. (When are they going to start selling beer at the farmer's market?!) We also eat out a lot less often. It's hard to be interested in a bar's selection of nacho toppings when you have homemade pizza in your fridge.

This week by shopping at the market we have been able to make beef and barley stew, broccoli crunch, cabbage salad and homemade pizza along with less-recipe required items like roasted lamb sausage, eggs, a chicken to roast and some greens to saute. All of these things, for two people, in one week, for a lot less.

Screw the environment buy whole and sustainable for your wallet.

1 comment:

Martha Patzer said...

thanks for writing this. I also thought it was interesting that NPR pointed to the concentration of manure (CAFOs) as the real problem, as if spreading hundreds of thousands (millions?) of cows over more acres will solve the environmental crisis brought on by the dairy industry. The sustainability problem has less to do with confinement than consumption, i.m.o.