For folks who concern themselves with local farming, the recent arrests at Double H Farm didn’t come as an enormous surprise. But for people who don’t considering themselves a part of the local food movement, it’s got to all seem a little bizarre. In this week’s C-Ville Jayson Whitehead explains how local farming works in the area, following animals from Double H and Polyface until they’re served as food at Mas, Revolutionary Soup and Chipotle. The bad news is that local meat is generally more expensive. The good news is that it tastes better, it’s better for you, and it’s substantially less likely to kill you.
6 thoughts on “Understanding the Local Food Movement”
It’s so expensive. I’m kind of dismayed at how much my recent experiment in shopping only at local food stores (which doesn’t necessarily mean buying only local food) is costing me. The only way healthy local food will become affordable is if the supply increases–in other words, if officious officials stop making it impossible for local small farmers to prosper.
BTW, I read the blog of a woman who I think is based in Boston, and she is also linking to the C’ville story.
If you eat meat, are a DIY type and you want locally produced food, then take up deer hunting. There’s meat running around everywhere and it’s more or less free for the taking.
My uncle hunts and hasn’t hunted deer in the last few years because of Chronic Wasting Disease. He isn’t from here, but I looked up reports of CWD and there are reports of in West Virginia. The first time I heard of it, it seemed to be primarily out west.
For those interested in the local food movement, I highly recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal Vegetable Miracle,” which talks about the year her family ate only local foods.
We try to eat local, but it’s not always feasible. Rebecca’s and C’ville Market are great options to have for basic grocery needs. Main Street Market is another terrific resource.
However, if I have to choose between a local apple that’s loaded with pesticides and an organic apple from Washington State, the organic apple is going to win every time.
There has never been a case of CWD in Virginia and DGIF is pretty vigilant about keeping it out of Virginia (that’s why they still aren’t allowing elk to get established in SW VA – elk have huge territories compared to deer and could be major vectors for spread of any disease of cervids).
Even in areas out west where it has become endemic, you can avoid the risk by not sawing through any bone when butchering the meat. Cut the meat off the bones and leave the spine intact and you’re in good shape. The danger with mad cow disease (which is a similar transmissible spongiform encephalopathy) is that these very large slaughterhouses saw through bone and brain all the time for the sake of efficiency and one little error could contaminate thousands of packages of meat.
Of course, infected animals usually exhibit odd behavior and appearance anyway and are not difficult to identify. And then there is the fact that CWD has never made a single human being sick. Only cervids such as deer and elk and, in lab experiments, some cattle.
Personally, with regard to prion diseases such as CWD and Mad Cow disease, I’d feel a lot safer eating the deer that I personally hunted and butchered. In the case of the deer I can observe it’s behavior before shooting and then I can control how it is butchered. Wheras the beef in the supermarket is just a big question mark. There is still no systematic testing for mad cow disease in the US, the methods of butchering lend themselves to transmission of the prions from the bone, spine and brain into the meat and if there is an infection then the FDA actually does not have the authority to order a recall.
I don’t eat meat…just wanted to put the info out there so people who are interested in getting involved in hunting would be aware and do some research about CWD.
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