Welcome to Week SIx in Life of a Pig
On commercial farms, when the hogs reach the end of their reproductive years, are normally taken to market.This practice, of course, is expected and necessary. Otherwise an unimaginable quanity of meat would be wasted.
Shelly and Mike have a different situation, simply because they are not commercial pig farmers. They have a few sows and one boar, who produce top of the line quality pork. At the end of the hogs life, they are given a proper burial.
Life of a Pig supports and promotes the local farm. Many of us buy their sustainable products every chance we get. Without our support, these farms could not survive. Our local farmers are people who simply love their land and want to feed themselves, their children and many of us, chemical free food. Shelly and Mike have worked their 15 acres into sustainable farmland. Their land produces all kinds of greens and vegetables which hopefully will reamin here for them to give to their children and to their childrens children and so forth.
Imagine if these farms were unable to sustain their business. Their land would be developed for commercial and self interest projects. Once sold, their farmland would never again be a small sustainable farm that provides our communities with an alternative food source.
Farmers Markets are not just about food , they are about community. When you shop at your neighborhood Farmers Market you are buying good healthy food, supporting your community and ensuring that our farmers can continue to supply us with delicious, healthy food for years to come.
Food in this country is cheaper than anywhere else in the world. I know its hard to believe when we are at the check stand or reaching into our pockets for cash at our local Farmers Markets. Our small farms do not produce volume, so their costs are higher. Restaurants that use the product of local farms, spend much more on food than many of our corporate restaurants that buy in volume from distributors. I believe the higher cost is worth it. One of my favorite quotes by Alice Waters is “There are politics behind how we spend our money on food. We have a responsibility to support the people who take care of the earth. It is our responsibility and our honor"
As a chef, I have mindlessly chopped, sliced, baked, roasted, grilled, braised hundreds ...gulp...thousands of pounds of meat, fish, produce without a second thought. Just after weeks of my participation in Life of a Pig I look at my cooler filled with food, differently.
Dividing the earth's productive land by the world's population of just over 6 billion, there are approximately 4.5 acres of land available to meet each person's consumption needs. Already global per capita consumption is at 5.1 acres per person. In the US , per capita consumption demands 23.7 acres of productive space—far beyond one person's fair share. In other words, if everyone (all 6 billion people on the planet) consumed like we do, we'd need four more planets like this one.
When I buy local product, I know what I am getting and it stays fresh so much longer than anything I buy from a distrubutor. Whether it be meat, fish, or produce, it is possible to buy directly from the farmer on many occasions. I know when I buy direct, I get the best product out there. Most importantly, I know that I am making a contribution to the health and wealth of our planet!
Thanks again for visiting!
(For those of you who have just tuned in..Life of a Pig begins with a first posting called Meet and Greet. Keep scrolling down.