Saturday, August 15, 2009

Doing the Right Thing

Sometimes people suggest that we should just buy corn-fed beef to make our beef jerky cheaper. While we are looking for ways to lower costs in order to make grass-fed jerky less expensive, we have a saying: you're either doing the right thing, or you're not. Corn fed beef is not the right thing. Corn finished, sure, better. But grass-fed beef is solar powered; there are not pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, or other petroleum based agricultural ingredients in a field of grass. The resulting meat has a smaller carbon footprint, and has done less damage to the planet in many ways, including pollution.

This is why I'm an organic gardener. I want to be ethical toward the planet. It's why I stopped eating pork: it's one of the biggest industrial farming nightmares because pig shit is impossible to deal with on a large scale. Small scale pig farmers argue that they've solved that problem by, well, being small (which allows nature to deal with the waste), and maybe they have a point. But I have another ethical guide of my own to follow, which is that I don't want to eat animals that are more intelligent than a dog. That means no pigs, and no Octopus.

We have a lot of friends who share our basic ethical positions, like the grass fed beef farm down the road, the gourmet grocery in Cherry Valley, and even older friends back in Hawaii (where we lived for a year) like this organic Kona coffee farm, and Cherie Attix who has put her money and effort where her ethics are and created a new web site and discount program for her Maui bed and breakfast (where she has a wonderful organic tropical fruit garden) that encourages and rewards volunteer vacations in Hawaii. Volunteer while you're on vacation in Hawaii, and you'll get a 5% discount off your stay at her historic Inn, and she'll donate another 5% to the organization for which you volunteer. Most of the volunteer programs are environmental in nature, like eradicating invasive species and planting native ones.

So keep in mind that wherever you are, and wherever you travel, you can take a little extra time, a little extra money and save us all in the long run by doing the right thing. Buy your garden vegetable plants from a local nursery and you'll help support your local economy and help stop the spread of the late blight. Buy local and organic food and help your health and the planet's. When you camp somewhere, pack out what you pack in. When you go on vacation somewhere, volunteer while you're there. Volunteer to help your own community. Just do something that's right. It's really a lot easier than the corporate interests want you to think.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Oh, that's what those poles are for...

I thought the poles at my local Farmer's Museum (in Cooperstown, NY) were way too tall for any pole bean I ever saw. I'm looking forward to finding out how New Yorker's used hops in 1840! I thought there was only one thing to use them for. And I'm going for a frosty one now!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Food, Inc.