I gave a class this past weekend at Organic Growers School‘s Harvest Conference called Decoding Meats. The focus of the discussion was to address people’s questions about sourcing and cooking honest, local meat. Largely, we focused on the need for GMO-free, organic feedstock at an appropriate economy of scale. I took participants through the economics of pastured swine production and pastured poultry production, to help consumers understand the obstacles we face in making truly honest meat a reality. This will be a huge focus in my book, and realistically, we have a long way to go. We must not only change buying habits, but also our mindsets about what constitutes a meal, re-define waste, learn how to better use animals in the thriftiest, most efficient, respectful ways, and endeavor (as much as possible) to raise our own food. Above all, we have to stop making more demands of farmers, and understand the vast, web-like system of political, social, economic, and environmental nuances that effect our food system and food culture.
In addition to addressing this question, the class contained a run-down of common label claims, discussing their worth to the discerning consumer. We also did a Q&A about participants’ favorite cuts, covering cooking recommendations, and also ideas for lesser-known cuts that could be substituted, helping participants better make use of the whole animal, and addressing affordability issues in some cases.
Organic Growers School will most likely post the presentation on their website, and is looking at developing a webinar with me to make the knowledge more widely accessible. For now, if you’d like more information, a copy of the presentation, or have questions, feel free to contact me via email or leave your comments here.