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Slow Food - Page 2

post #31 of 44

French fries, meat is meat, and fish is fish.  Besides, here in B.C. all we have is farmed salmon anyway..... lol.gif

 

A couple of  thoughts on "local" animals and "in the system" animals.

 

Joe farmer has 20 or 30 cattle, a small operation.  He grows his own feed, pastures his animals, finishes off his animals (ie grain feeding) and takes them to local auction where they are processed locally.

Manure problems are minimal with a herd this size, and in the winter, the manure can be stored and aged to be sprayed on the fields in spring. (Common European tactics)

 

The feed lot operator, buys cattle at an auction, transported to his lot, buys feed--which is trucked in, and must truck out manure.   Failure to do so will really screw up the local water table, as most feed lots have hundreds of animals in a relatively small space..  Then he trucks out the cattle to be processed.  True, the feed lot can operate with minimal labour--one guy with a forklift at feeding time, and can buy in feed at great prices,but everything is trucked in and trucked out.

 

The feedlot operator is slave to the packing house, and the packing house is slave to......(drum roll please)... Mall*Wart.  I kid you not, these guys buy the most, and so set the prices.  Either the packing houses "smarten up" and take Mall*Wart's prices,  or they don't.

 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #32 of 44

For all it's faults, I really appreciate the modern food system. I tend to think the slow food/local movement is sort of a philosophic return to barbarism. I'm not too eager to return to the eating practices of the past.

post #33 of 44

Kind of overstates the case, TinCook.

 

The locovore movement would be more a return to the last half of the 19th and first half of the 20th century; a time when, as Foodpump pointed out, cities were ringed with truck farms who delivered fresh, ripe produce on a daily basis.

 

This is, essentially, the sort of thing done at legitimate farmers markets.

 

The primary differences between that and the modern factory-farm system is that, thanks to both varieties grown and methods of growing, the produce was flavorful and nutritious with the old system. The same cannot, necessarily, be said for the modern one.

 

When varieties and growing methods are choosen to meet the needs of the food distribution system, flavor and nutrition, when present, ride in on the shirttails of the genetic choices. The selection criterium include: pest and disease resistance; ability to withstand the abuses of truck, rail, air, and ocean transport; uniformity of size, shape, color and ripening times; ability to withstand long-term cold storage; and similar characteristics.

 

The food distribution system also defines things in ways that go counter to consumers' intuitive reactions. For example, under the law, a vine ripened tomato doesn't mean it's ripe. It means it has passed the breaker stage, and, in some juridictions, shows "some" color. That's a long way from being ripe.

 

The primary benefit of the modern food distribution system is that it provides large quantities of food relatively inexpensively. As a co-committment, it allows off-season foods to be delivered anywhere in the world. This is not the Devil's toy it's been made out to be. If none of the food you eat is at it's peak, what difference does in make if it comes from New Jersey or New Caladonia?

 

The thing to keep in mind is that the problem is always the same: How do we best deliver food to where most people live?

 

In the 18th and most of the 19th centuries, America was, essentially, a rural country. Most people grew or raised much or all of their own food. Commercial farms could be economically located near the towns and cities. So truck farming worked. Today we are, essentially, an urban country. Farms have to be further away to accomplish the same task. So the choices are: grow the food using a factory farm system, so it can be grown economically, or, grow it close to the cities, where it will carry a premium price that reflects the added costs of production.

 

Is locally grown produce actually better? Maybe so. But what the locovores do is concentrate on the benefits while avoiding the elitist nature of such produce. The fact is, locally grown is expensive; and no amount of demand is going to change that except to drive prices even higher. Which means it's beyond the budgets of most of us. How many poor people do you see at farmers markets?).

 

Everything is a trade off. All I've ever argued is that the realities of those trade-offs be recognized. And that's something most locovores fail to do.

 

The other reality is that not everything can be produced locally. I'm not just talking about exotic, out-of-season fruits and veggies. As I noted above, salt is rarely a locally produced item. But it's essential for health and well-being. And, the fact is, most people do waht to buy tomatoes in February. We live in a world where doing-without isn't a viable choice for most people.

 

Much of this reminds me of the macrobiotic proponents of the 1960s. That, too, was based on principles that included only eating locally grown, in-season, foods. Except the mainstay of the diet was rice. Uh, huh. I was living in Boston at the time, and I can guarantee you there was no locally grown rice. But that didn't deter any of the macrobiotic soapboxers.

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #34 of 44

Joe farmer has 20 or 30 cattle, a small operation.....

 

All of which sounds reasonable and logical, Foodpump. But as we've seen, time after time, how things reason out, and how they work out in reality, are often quite different.

 

I could just as reasonably construct a scenario in which the feedlot is operating so much more efficiently that all of what you say is negated, in terms of greater carbon footprint. But just because I'm offering a reasonably argument doesn't make me right and you wrong.

 

The only way to know is to conduct a study, based on the carbon-cost per head, of both methods. Then we would know.

 

If I had to guess, though, I'd say the feedlot system is cleaner overall. If not, why do those farmer-raised cows cost so much?

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #35 of 44

Probably because the feed lots are an arm of the packing houses, and the farmer and can't cover his costs with the price the auction house gives him.

 

All these are just points, some are good, some are bad.  I like my coffee, my chocolate, my citrus fruits too, so I am not endorsing a "100 mile" diet.

 

I am, however, am very aware that the big get bigger, and large producers produce so cheaply that many local producers just give up and sell off their land.

 

I am also aware that the big like to do business with the big, and has very little, uh..."understanding" for the small people in the chain.

 

I am also aware that a drought, crop failure, transportation problems, or a food poisoning scare  could be very damaging, not to mention embarassing for the whole of North America.  What I am advocating is not such a heavy reliance on the large producers.  Spread the load around a bit. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #36 of 44

INFO  

On June 9th after being used in the poultry industry, our esteemed FDA recalled the chemical that has been fed to young chickens and manufactured by Pfizer for MANY YEARS. The drug fattens them up quicker so they can go to market faster  The drug contained fairly substancial traces of ARSENIC . Isn't it wonderful to know how the FDA looks after our health and welfare.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #37 of 44

Spread the load around a bit. 

 

Well sure. I don't think anyone would argue against that.

 

The question that remains, however, is how?

 

Food distribution is a very complex equation, and there are no easy solutions short of a Malthusian catastrophe that would allow us to start over. But that's not too likely. Meanwhile, so long as population continues to grow, the emphasis will be on production, to the detriment of other factors. There are billions of us. And, unforntunately, there is no way a bunch of small farms can feed us all. Indeed, they can't even feed a significant number of us; not without a serious economic impact.

 

As per the disasters you cite (and other similar ones), spreading things around, of itself, won't necessarily help. Here's an example. Most small farmers actually use the same varieties and same methods as the factory farms. So, if a new blight arises, they are just as likely to suffer as the big boys. That, for instance, is precisely what happened with the corn crop in 1970. 

 

So, if you have a viable plan for spreading things around there are agencies and organizations that would pay a pretty penny for it.

 

 

 

 

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #38 of 44

Uhh.. well... Howzabout starting with banning lobbyists?

 

Honestly, I don't know.  I do know that prime farm land is being sold to developers.  Many farmers and producers can not keep up with mega-producers.

 

And you're very correct with local farmers growing the same crud as the mega-producers.  They grow what the market demands, even if the market wants a tasteless Granny Smith or Red Delecious apple.  I've been searching high and low for two years now trying to find someone who grows sour cherries.  I can get them in frozen or dried from Oregon, and it is a good product.  But we have cherry trees here too, just that all we have is Bings.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #39 of 44

Uh, well, howzabout a nationwide boycott of fast food factories and factory made meals?

 

Whoops, we have a couple of generations where a majority of households do not have anyone who can prepare a meal from scratch!

 

Uh, well, howzabout a nationwide boycott of so called factory farms?

 

Whoops, we do not have enough small farmers to supply the food we need to feed 300,000,000+ people!

 

60 years ago, a great majority of the U.S. population either:

  • lived on a farm/ranch, or
  • had family that lived on a farm/ranch, or
  • had close friends that lived on a farm/ranch

 

Today, probably less than, oh, 20% of the population even grasps that milk comes from cows, meat comes from slaughtered animals, and vegetables are grown!

 

Take a look at your local grocery store. What percentage of available products are not processed, and I do not mean simply washed or cut up, I mean canned, frozen, or otherwise processed to change their character.

 

What is the solution? That is a VERY perplexing question!

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #40 of 44

MONSANTO, 3M, DOW, AND DUPONT CONTROL US ALL

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #41 of 44

Well, they're certainly trying to, Ed.

 

Will they succeed? Only if we let them.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #42 of 44

I think the lobbyists all ready have..............

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #43 of 44

Your right look at campaigne contibutions over the years to politicians from these companies and their employees.. I hate politics but can't help this one. This administration in its infancy stood on the platfrom of CHANGE.  They sure did  Change meant  MORE,  Like more Debt, Taxes, Welfare, Government Regulation, Unemployment, Wastful Spending and Political Corruption,. Hope we don't have any more changes like this.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

Reply
post #44 of 44

Hi Foodpump

 

I think the ag community of most cities are ready and able to gear up to meed demand, if it was there.  Here in Indianapolis, we have a city market which has local farmer's stalls every Wednesday and Saturday.   But that is mostly for vegetables.

 

As for meats, I have found  local, organic chicken, lamb and beef - though it was not easy and most of the contacts came from non-food internet interests.    In each case, these farmers would like to sell more, but find it is difficult to hook up directly with customers.  So they sell through an organization (national - it has no direct knowledge of the products, just has a big website), which takes a hunk of the profit, so they have to mark it up more.   

 

I found the lamb through a fiber festival (people like me spin wool into yarn and we gather occasionally).   I found organic chickens through a dog list and the chicken people told me about the organic beef/cheese guy.   I would be in favor of a thread on this forum that listed organic producers and their locations for those of us who want to patronize them but have trouble finding them.

 

Donna


 


Prior to WW2 there used to be a ring of farms around almost every major city in N.America that supplied the cities with dairy, meat, and produce.  This is not the case now.  So yes, you can grow tomaotes, or corn, or potatos, or lettuce very economically on huge planatations.  So economically, that small lcoal farmers can not compete with pricing.  What happens?  The farm goes under, a sub-division goes up. 

 

 



 

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