Last night I listened to Dr. Temple Grandin’s keynote Zoom speech for Niman Ranch, because I was interested in hearing her thoughts on the meat industry during the Covid days (years). Dr. Grandin is a big part of why I got into the meat industry, because I wanted to make a difference in how cattle were treated before they became part of our food system, and boy oh boy is the food system fractured TO SAY THE LEAST.
First, Dr. Grandin could not stress enough the importance of supporting local. She stays awake at night thinking about the extremely precarious and fragile electric grid; I think we can all see how delicate and jimmy-rigged it all is. Support local as much as possible, and YES it will cost more because they don’t have the convenience of scaling. Know where you can buy everything local, as much as possible. I know we’re all swayed by the convenience of Costco, Amazon, Walmart — they couldn’t make it any easier, but their systems are completely fragile and unbalanced.
Second: educate the children. This is the most uneducated the country has been (isn’t painfully obvious, given the political landscape?). America does not know how to do anything anymore, and it shows. Dr. Grandin is a HUGE advocate for getting the trade skills back in school, which were eliminated about 25 years ago. All meat plants have to be sent over in pieces from China in 100 containers because no one knows how to build them. She said in a million different ways how important it is to support local, and referred to her local Fort Collins economy and the number of craft beer companies who co-exist with Budweiser. You can have big, big is not always bad, but when there is trouble, we all suffer from Big. GO LOCAL
I’m not encouraging supporting local only in the meat industry because I’m connected to Cañada de la Virgen; no matter what your food lifestyle is as this point, meat or no meat, it’s important to support local as much as we can. I know most of us are freaked out about the world, our lives, our families, our jobs, money or lack thereof, every day seems to be a bit whackier the day before, but look at what’s right in front of you and be aware of how you live. Reign in where you can, support local as is possible. Remember to breathe, set your priorities, know and support your neighbors and do your best to not get involved in the wretched hate fest happening in America. That ship is sinking, I think it’s painfully clear, so do what you can to prepare to the future.
Also: Dr. Grandin Zooms in her kitchen and has pictures of cows on her fridge just like me!!!