Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening hosting a Growers Group at a small local farm; I was able to see their cattle operation, their processing facility, and meet a number of other local livestock and meat producers. Although I am vegetarian and do not believe in slaughtering animals for food, I also believe in supporting small family farms and helping those farmers striving to provide animals with a healthier life and more humane slaughtering (I have a hard time typing those two words side by side- but that is a whole other blog post.)
All of the farmers that I met were such genuinely nice down-to-earth people; they work extremely hard for a living, are passionate about their livelihoods, and are more informed about their field of work than any other group I have been involved with.
I have a lot to learn about the entire meat production side of farming but the more I talk to people and research, the more complicated I realize the whole process has become. I am amazed that small farmers have even survived through all of the red tape, regulation, and corporate subsidizing. Thankfully, it seems as though the tides are turning towards a greater awareness of the importance of our small local farms, the need to re-build the local food economy, and the consequences of corporate farming. I think this little video below does a great job of creating a visual, despite the fact that it is actually a commercial. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMfSGt6rHos&feature=player_embedded