PUSHBACK

Can you bear one final post about Australia?  Taranaki hosted three public events the last three days I was there and we had hundreds of people attend those.  As is always the case, you remember the negative more than the positive, and as we debriefed after the events, we realized we only had two pushbacks.

 I'm not going to count the militant vegan group that sent two representatives.  This group came at midnight in 2017 and stole 150 chickens out of Taranaki's pastures to "liberate" them.  And no, they were not prosecuted--I mean the people.  Such is the proliferation of animal ignorance.  But that's another story.

 The two pushbacks were interesting, and they came from just two attendees, both of whom considered themselves highly educated specialist academics.  And I was unable to convince either one of them, such is the made-up mind and the pressure to believe certain things.  The first involved herbivores.  She disliked cows.  Her basic pitch was that since cows have done a lot of damage, how do we expect to heal any land with cows?  Interestingly, her point was that we should abandon herbivores and just raise chickens on pasture and cover all the pastures with chickens.

 I'm tickled that she embraced scratching and pecking as a healing disturbance, but it all works better in symbiosis; like the egret on the rhino's nose.  So deep is the antagonistic state of affairs against cows in many circles that the chicken is the only acceptable farm animal.  Well, how do you mow the grass short so the chickens will like it?  How do you prune the acreage?  The reason cows are wonderful is because they prune large expanses and leave more than they take--their inefficiency is why every deep soil area of the world is under perennial prairies with herbivores and not under trees or bushes.  True, they've done a lot of damage, but it need not be so.

 The second pushback centered on pond building.  "I've seen ponds dry up rivers," said the expert.  Demonizing ponds as if they inherently deprive folks downstream of water is a common misperception.  Here's my pitch, and the pitch of permaculture and keyline hydration systems:  if the pond is NOT in running water (stream, creek, spring, river) so that it only fills with surface runoff, by definition it can only hold water that is in excess of the commons.

 Hang with me here.  If we assume the landscape in a given area is a cup, the only way we can have water running across the land is if the land can't hold any more.  In other words, the cup is full and running over.  Holding water that runs over the sides of the cup is not hoarding; it's saving.  In fact, it protects downstream folks from floods and blesses the same folks later with base flow rates, transpiration, and a more functional hydration cycle. 

 On this trip, I learned yet more about Australia's ancient hydration.  Like the U.S., 800 years ago Australia had vast systems of lakes and ponds.  In the U.S. some 8 percent of the land base was water--primarily from beaver dams (200 million of them).    In Australia, careful stream manipulation by the Aborigines encouraged ponds.  Today, both countries are below 1 percent water.  Imagine what 8 percent would mean?  The sheer evaporation to maintain atmospheric hydration for dependable cloud formation; the thermal mass to ease highs and lows on ambient temperatures; riparian environments for wildlife and aquatic life.

 Ponds, like cows, can be managed in a Conquistador mentality or a caretaker mentality.  The human hand can hurt or heal.  For some reason, this seems almost impossible to convey, and yet understand it we must.  We can't run around demonizing the most efficacious instruments for ecological healing.  I wish this point could be stated compellingly enough to eliminate debate, but our hearts define what our eyes will see.  Indeed, the phrase "I'll believe it when I see it" is backwards.  The truth is that "I'll see it when I believe it."

 And yes, for those of you who don't own much land, a wheelbarrow-sized pond in the backyard is extremely beneficial, as are rain barrels and other water retention vessels.  It's all about holding raindrops as high on the landscape for as long as possible; that enables the most uses on their gravitational journey to the sea . . . or back into the clouds.  I've made ponds with a pick and shovel--the size of a bathtub.  What a difference some water can make in a dry and thirsty land.

 Have you considered making a pond?

TARANAKI

I'm just finishing up my week here at Taranaki in Woodend, Victoria, Australia, about one hour away from Melbourne.  This 400-acre farm was acquired in 1923 as a soldier block, after WWI, by Jack Faloon.  Structured a little bit like the American Homestead Act, these tracts were given to returning soldiers if they actively farmed it for 20 years; at that time, a clear deed transferred to the farmer.  Many were not successful, but Jack was, and passed it to his son John, who passed it to his son Stan, who has now passed it to his son Ben, who invited me in 2010 to come and do a workshop on the farm as part of a series developed by Darren Doherty and others of the RegenAg consortium.

 At that time, Ben committed himself to on-farm poultry slaughter, but nearly 10 years later he's just getting through the regulations to make it happen.  The farm was arbitrarily placed in what is called an Agriculture Conservation zone, which meant on 400 acres he could only have 2 cows and a couple of chickens.  If a tree falls in the forest, he's prohibited from moving it.  In true innovative renegade fashion, however, he has a portable sawmill that he can place over the log, astradle, and cut it up without moving it.  The law does not prohibit moving boards.  To say that Ben is a man after my own heart would be an understatement.

 An early practitioner of P.A. Yeoman's Keyline water system, Ben built a series of small ponds to reduce flooding and slow the drainage.  But the local water catchment authority prohibited him from using his own water for irrigation unless he metered it at $1,000 per pond and paid them for the use of the water.  The zoning prohibited him from selling his own products in a farm shop.  But he found a loophole:  a Rural Produce Aggregation Center.  So that's what it's called, although it looks like a farm shop.

 Since 2011 Taranaki, like other pastured poultry farms in the state of Victoria, has been taking its chickens for processing to a licensed facility a couple of hours away.  This ordeal involves hauling the chickens, coming home and switching vehicles, going back to pick up the birds and other logistics, all costing thousands of dollars.  Last year, one of the two facilities in Victoria announced that it would no longer take birds from small independent producers, which meant everyone had to use the only one left.  That's vulnerability on steroids.  Ben knew he had to punch through getting his on-farm processing facility built.

 A couple of months ago he launched a crowdfunding campaign and in one month 850 people dumped in $120 apiece to capitalize a micro-abattoir.  Over the week, during a series of workshops, I've had the distinct privilege of processing the first chickens to go through the facility.  It's simply an L of two small shipping containers converted to kill, scald, pick, eviscerate and package chickens under government approval.  It's not fully licensed yet, but as Ben and I stood there today addressing 250 enthusiastic supporters of the crowdfunding campaign, with the freshly set structure beaming in the background, he and I were both overcome with emotion and tears flowed freely over emotional trauma engendered by such an ordeal. 

 It should be easy to bring the butcher, baker, and candlestick maker back to our communities, but during the few decades of industrialization that has replaced them, a bureaucratic tyranny developed to block entrepreneurial re-creation.  As I think about our struggles at Polyface to be legal, both the battles we've fought and the things we still don't do because the fight is too hard, it's sobering to realize what a different integrity food system we could have were freedom encouraged rather than discriminated against.

 Things are so bad here in Australia that Ben says they actually have a government agency called the Bureaucratic Intervention office.  How about that?  What a joy, though, to see him soldier on, developing a template that can be followed by other pastured poultry farmers desperate to chip away at the stranglehold of the industrial factory farming system.  May the future be bright for Taranaki.

 Does the U.S. need a Bureaucratic Intervention agency?

DOWN UNDER AT TARANAKI

 

I'm currently doing seminars in Woodend, Victoria, Australia at Ben Falloon's farm, Taranaki.  This is my fourth visit to Taranaki in 9 years and it's been wonderful to watch the progress.

 Tuesday and Wednesday I did the first two-day seminar, modeled after our Polyface Intensive Discovery seminars, and now I'm doing the second two-day seminar.  Lots of back-to-back instruction.  Both sold out (32 people apiece) and are attended by very eager folks; a true delight and of course I enjoy listening to all the Aussie accents.

 This is a 400-acre farm and probably overall the closest to a Polyface in Australia.  This is my 15th trip down under so I've enjoyed making many friends and seeing much of the country.

 Ben is coordinating these seminars with the launch of his on-farm inspected poultry processing facility.  It's constructed of two small shipping containers in an L shape.  He hasn't fully gotten his license yet, but it's close and I enjoyed processing 8 chickens in there yesterday.  He crowdfunded it and has 850 people who put in $100 apiece to make it happen.  I'll be meeting with a lot of them on Saturday.

 The bottleneck of processing is still the number one inhibitor of local integrity food, the same as it is in the U.S.   He's hoping that this will serve as a demonstration template to encourage and enable many other small pastured operations to install their own facility.  Most people have hours of transport to take their chickens to an abattoir, then go pick them up.  Often a small grower can have $1,000 just in the travel to get a small batch processed in a way they are legal to sell.

 What a joy and privilege to be part of this renaissance of agrarian infrastructure.  Rural communities used to have butchers, sawmills, tanneries and many other craft businesses, but they are virtually gone.  Running against that current is a burgeoning tribe of artisan producers like Ben and I couldn't be prouder of what farmers like him are re-creating in their communities.

 As a result of these seminars, we hope to germinate the country with yet more Bens who will take on this great mission of emotionally, ecologically, and economically healing the land.

 Where are your chickens processed?


KILLING OURSELVES

I'm always grateful when a blog reader sends me articles or gives me a heads up about an important topic.  I can't possibly read everything or be all places, so input from you is always helpful and appreciated.  A reader hooked me up with the recent New York Times piece about c. auris, a superbug that has the medical community astir.

 Rightfully so.  It's a superbug which as far as we know did not exist before 2009.  I find these kinds of stories particularly fascinating because usually we hear about species extinction and how fast we're losing diversity.  So it's quite interesting that we have a brand new species, a brand new critter, showing up in our ecosystem.  Except this is one we'd rather see extinct.

 Resistant infections are now killing 160,000 Americans a year and 700,000 people worldwide.  A British study, according to the NYT piece, predicts that in 2050 10 million will die from these infections and only 8 million from cancer.  Of course, you and I know that these projections are as accurate as your 3 year old picking the Super Bowl winner 5 years in advance, but it does show the concern in the hearts and minds of the medical community.

 The most interesting part of the NYT piece is the tenor, captured presciently in the headline  "Spanning the Globe in a Climate of Secrecy."  As bad and deadly as this superbug fungal infection is, what's worse is that hospitals and medical professionals refuse to talk about it publicly or let people know which hospitals are most infected with it.  Hence the word secrecy in the title of the article.

 The smoking gun has not been definitively found, but most researchers think the sudden appearance and pervasiveness of this deadly superbug stems from agricultural fungicides and overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture.  Interestingly, the article never encourages anyone to eat only food grown without any of these things.  In fact, it never mentions food.

 How hard would it have been for any of the researchers in the piece to note that if people would quit eating food grown with fungicides and antibiotics we could quit creating a habitat for its proliferation?  The fact that nothing like this exists in the piece indicates the egregious compartmentalization our culture practices in day-to-day problem solving.  That so much attention could be devoted to this superbug without a major alert to quit patronizing agriculture that uses these deadly methods indicates a profound abdication of reasoned safety.

 Meanwhile, food safety regulations demand that processing plants use antimicrobials in order to get licensing and comply with government protocols.  It's as if we have multiple universes on the same planet, none of which is talking to the others.  Fortunately, more and more regular folks like you and me are connecting dots the expert intelligentsia refuses to; you could call it the uberization of the obvious. 

 We should be outraged that the medical community, to keep patients coming to their hospitals, and to save face, are circling the wagons to keep us ignorant about this raging and deadly superbug.  Fortunately, it's fairly opportunistic and attacks primarily immuno-compromised people.  Just another reason to eat nutrient dense pasture-based compost-fertilized meat and vegetables.

 Have you heard of c. auris?

ORGANIC GLYPHOSATE

The Real Organic community is abuzz about new confirmations that organic certifiers are okay with hydroponic plants grown in pots sitting on black plastic over glyphosate-laden soil.

 Black pots the size of a 5-gallon bucket sit on acres and acres of land.  How do you maintain that land like a sterile table top for those buckets of hydroponic (without soil) blueberries?  You kill all the vegetation with Roundup, turning the soil to concrete, and then you place the buckets on top.  Organic certifiers are fine with that.

 The reasoning is that the herbicide is not actually in the buckets holding the plants; just in the soil on which the buckets sit.  But since the plants don't go into the soil, the plastic bucket barrier keep things on the up-and-up for certification.

 Just when you thought organic compromise couldn't get worse, it does.  This is a classic case.  Not only is the U.S. the only country that certifies plants grown without soil as organic, we're the only country that allows such a deadly herbicide to be used as part of the system.  It shows how once you open that door of organic fraud, you head down a slippery slope of more egregious fraud.

 A little fraud does not morph into no fraud.  It progresses into greater fraud.

 Why in the world the organic community ever thought the government could be trusted with something as idealistic and full of integrity as organic production is beyond me and why here at Polyface we don't play the gamesmanship of the program.  It is becoming more rotten by the day and proves the best way to know what's going on is to buy from sources you vet yourself.  Interestingly, these organic producers often show how they're growing and make no attempt to hide it. 

 That shows that they believe the brazen adulteration of the National Organic Products Act is now so embedded in the consumer psyche that all of this is broadly and unquestionably accepted.

 Why should we pay more for organic blueberries when they're grown on top of Roundup and in buckets without soil?

GERMANS RALLY AGAINST INDUSTRIAL AG

 Saturday some 35,000 Germans rallied in Berlin as part of Green Week to protest industrial agriculture.  In the U.S. most eco-farmers hold up Europe as the benchmark of improved agriculture, but I can assure you that is not the case.

 Many say the agriculture there must be far better than in the U.S. because they are much older civilizations so if they were depleting their soils, they would have run out of fertility and productivity long ago.  Compared to the U.S., these countries are ancient.

 But this belies the truth.  Having been there many times, and returning for a 3-country speaking/teaching circuit late this month, I'll offer some points about European agriculture that must be considered:

 1.  It is far more temperate than the U.S., meaning that it doesn't get as cold nor as hot and has much more consistent rainfall.  All of these factors make the soil less fragile and stimulate the ability to grow large amounts of biomass, which is the secret to soil health.

 2.  Many traditional schemes for protecting soil were followed religiously in these old countries.  I have a woodcut from France in a book written in the middle ages by a traveling Crusader who observed "portable chicken houses" dotting the Normandy countryside.

 3.  Draft power required one-third of all land remain devoted to pasture.  All draft animals are herbivores, and therefore require grasses, which generally build soil if they are managed anywhere near correctly.

 4.  Small farming. Much of this current German protest is over the $6 billion in subsidies going to primarily large industrial German farms.  Does that sound like the U.S.?  Absolutely.  The EU spends more than $68 billion in direct agriculture subsidies but far more go to environmental benefits on farms (a bird nest, a wild flower meadow, etc.).  But unlike the U.S., Europe has a remarkable commitment to small farm preservation--probably partly because that's what kept people alive in occupied countries during WWII and that's still vivid and visceral in their memories.

 5.  Food culture.  American food culture is fast food.  In Europe, each country has a unique and profound food culture rooted in its indigenous agriculture.  It is being lost through EU homogenization of food laws and subsidy policy, but the average European is far more tuned into local food culture than Americans.  This mindset inherently moves production toward on-farm species diversity and more balanced-scale protocols, which in turn translate to better soil care.

 Finally, I can assure you that plenty of degradation is occurring today, just like in the U.S.  People with their radar up know that soil health is in free-fall in Europe, just like in the U.S.  There it was historically more nurtured by ancient protocols in a forgiving climate.  In the harsher climate of the U.S., it was nurtured by native Americans prior to European arrival.    The point is that some climates, or local ecologies, are more fragile than others.  The more fragile, the less resilient.

 Interesting, the press reports about this big demonstration do not mention anti-animal sentiment.  I'm sure it was there, but apparently it was not as pronounced as much of the green agenda is in the U.S.  Perhaps people in Europe understand better that livestock can be raised well or poorly; they can build soil or deplete it.  It's all in how the animals are managed.

 If you were going to protest industrial agriculture in the U.S., what would your sign say?

NEW MEXICO DEMANDS FARMERS GET VACCINES

 I'm in Auckland right now on my way to Australia and while I wait between planes, it gives me time to catch up on important things that come across my desk.  Just when you think you've heard the most outrageous condescension toward farmers, along comes another one that makes all the others seem minor.  Here is a copy of a letter send to food vendors at the Bernalillo dated March 14.

 The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) is investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A primarily affecting adults who use injection drugs and are experiencing homelessness in Bernalillo County. Hepatitis A is easily transmitted by consuming food or beverages handled by infected persons. As such, every ill food worker situation could present a significant risk of infection to large numbers of people.

In response to this ongoing outbreak, the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department is asking for your help to prevent possible outbreaks in your food establishment by taking the following steps:

o Ensure each food worker understands the associated symptoms, transmission, and, illness notification requirements for hepatitis A.

o Ensure each food worker follows safe food handling practices.
o Ensure that food handlers are washing their hands with warm, soapy water for 20 seconds immediately before preparing foods; before putting on disposable gloves to start working 
with food; before dispensing or serving food; handling clean tableware and serving utensils in the food service area, and after using the restroom.

Hepatitis A is a reportable disease. Anyone who has been in contact with a person who has had a confirmed hepatitis A diagnosis should notify the NMDOH at (505) 84t-4116 to discuss their risk. If a food worker hasany of the symptoms of hepatitis A, please inform them NOT TO GO TO WORK ( and visit a medical provider for testing. It may be possible for vaccination to be given to other employees and consumers who may have been exposed to hepatitis A by a sick food worker. Illness can be prevented in those exposed, but only if they receive treatment within 14 days of exposure, so timely reporting of illness is vital to prevent additional infections.
In order to request immediate health advisories, we encourage all facilities to contact Bernalillo County Health Protection at 
healthprotection@bernco.gov.

If you have general questions about hepatitis A and foodservice, please contact the Bernalillo County Health Protection staff at (505) 301-0310. For additional information on hepatitis A, please visit: https ://nmhealth. org/about/phd/idb/trip/

Thank you for your attention. Bernalillo County Health Protection

Following this, here is the directive sent to every farmer's market vendor:

Attached is a health notification from the Bernalillo County health department regarding an outbreak of Hepatitis A in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County.  In the event that you've never received this vaccine you need to get vaccinated. If you have been vaccinated in the past you'll need a blood test to verify your current immunity.

 I am recommending that ALL vendors get vaccinated against Hep A. It is HIGHLY Contagious and extremely difficult to eradicate. If you do NOT get vaccinated and become a vector for Hep A you will be BANNED from ALL Future Markets. Period! Hep A symptoms can range from asymptomatic to hospitalization and possible death, so this is nothing to brush off and disregard. 

 If you have any questions please call the number listed for County Health 505 301-0310.

 

The result of this, of course, is mandatory vaccination for all farmers' market vendors, as if the food they bring to market is in contact with feces from homeless people or they spend the night under the bridge with no bathroom facilities.  How would you like to be a professional farmer and receive an order like this, lumping you in with society's most disease-prone and disease-facilitating.

 This is not a post about homelessness.  It is not a post about bad people.  It's a post about condescending bureaucrats and a society that is not outraged by tyranny and bad science.   Not only has no farmers' market food been implicated as unsafe, to my knowledge no farmer has been deemed unsafe or unsanitary.  Furthermore, to assume that farmers bringing their food to market take no more thought for its safety than workers at the Burger King across the road is, again, disrespectful and outrageous.

 At a time when we should be honoring farmers as heroes--especially the ones who feed their own communities and attend farmers' markets, here we are treating them like trash.  The assumption that vaccines are the cure for everything and that food from farmers is inherently suspect underlies this orthodoxy.

 Now who thinks more government agencies will help us?

SUSTAINABLE MEANINGS

I received a very kind and imploring request from one of our readers, a Cornell engineering graduate, to address the co-opting of the word "sustainable" by Monsanto and others in the industrial agriculture complex.

 Since I take these nudgings seriously, I'll address it here, especially since the phrase is being used throughout the "Green New Deal."  A lot of us have an idea about what sustainable means, just like we had an idea what organic means.  But words can be co-opted by the opposition, and that is precisely what happened to the word sustainable.

 As used in common agriculture parlance, it means spray Roundup on the ground to kill all the vegetation and then plant corn or soybeans.  While other herbicides can be used, the most common one today is Roundup, which means Roundup ready seeds must be used--plants that can tolerate the herbicide.  The whole idea is that herbicide is better than tillage so if we aren't tilling, all is well.

 While no-till with herbicides might hold more soil than old-time tillage, we've learned a lot since herbicides came out.  The Rodale Research Center has pioneered smother crops that act as a heavy mulch and designed special planting equipment to go through the matted down smother crop.  Some of these smother crops grow insane amounts of biomass--like peas and rye mixed together.  It literally lays a blanket of mulch 6 inches deep on the soil surface.

 A man named Colin Seis in Australia has a couple thousand farmers following his Pasture Cropping technique, wherein he integrates animal and cropping.  We've done this twice at Polyface to great benefit.  With no herbicides and no tillage, Pasture Cropping uses animals to graze twice in close succession, temporarily weakening the perennial sod.  A regular no-till planting drill can put the seed in between the two grazings.  The temporarily weakened perennial allows the annuals a window of germination opportunity to get up and ahead.

 As the annual, be it corn, wheat, soybeans or whatever, grows, it shades out the perennial and keeps it retarded until the annual goes through its fast maturity phase.  Then you harvest the grain and the living perennial shoots forward.

 Either of these options is far superior to herbicide preparation and maintenance, but neither even registers in the mainline sustainability focus groups; neither do they register on the Green New Deal's radar.  When Obama put Monsanto's Michael Taylor in charge of food safety, it proved that in this next iteration, Monsanto and cousins will be defining agriculture for the Green New Deal, and it will include herbicide no-till with genetically modified organisms rather than these far superior minority protocols.

 The point is that it is no longer acceptable to use the term "sustainable agriculture" in common conversation without digging way deeper for a definition of terms.  To be forewarned is to be forearmed.

 When is the last time you heard the phrase "sustainable agriculture?"

DANCING WITH DINNER

I'm speaking today in Cincinnati at a large private school hosting a regional foods symposium. 

 The evening keynote is titled "Dancing with Dinner" and the theme is primarily about food courtship.  Using the analogy of a dance as a friendly experience and part of a "get to know you" social construct, this talk brings into sharp focus how little we know about the partner we've brought to the table, on our plates.

 It's a fun performance (I don't call my presentations lectures) because obviously the analogy generates plenty of spice.  Do you know who you're dancing with?  Do you care?  What do they smell like?  What do they believe?  Would a relationship with this partner be healthy or unhealthy?

 People can easily grasp the importance of all these questions when it comes to selecting a dance partner but generally do not subject something even more intimate--eating--with the same level of discernment.  Food becomes flesh of our flesh and bone of our bones--nobody's dance partner is that intimate or critical to well-being.

 I explain how long ago people knew terminology like pullet, heifer, and shoat but today know very little about what's staring back at them from the plate.  What does food look like in the raw?  Those vegetables, are they frost tolerant or not?  Do they grow in the ground or above the ground? 

 Meat and poultry beg another whole set of questions.  Did the pork chop come from a happy pig?  Did the hamburger come from a beef animal that pruned vegetation properly, building soil, or one that overgrazed and depleted soil?  This is all about choice and how we express it at our dinner dance.

 How much do you know about your dinner dance partner?

WATER IN MEXICO

Our neighbors to the south have welcomed me these past couple of days with warmth and appreciation.  My hosts, a large Jersey dairy named Flor de Alfalfa (Flowers of Alfalfa) have filled me with citrus fruit and homemade yoghurt.  Wow, what a combination.

 I flew into Queretaro, a city of 1.5 million a little more than an hour away from Mexico City, which is 22 million.  Although this is a dry place, the official rain days are 60 per year and although it has not rained the 3 days I've been here, knowing what these regions are like, I'm sure plenty of times torrents come down.

 The folks here confirm that indeed numerous times a year the whole city floods with the torrent because the drainage systems are not adequate to handle the fast water.  In addition, 85 percent of all sewage in Mexico is piped straight into the rivers, so when these rain events happen and overrun the drainage system, they include blackwater (human sewage) in the runoff.  As they say, "not a good situation."

 The aquifer here is dropping 6 feet per year as the agriculture irrigation and urban development draw too much water.  Plans are underway to build a pipe extending more than 50 miles to the mountains to bring additional water in.

 This weekend I'll be going to Australia (I think my 14th visit) and my most poignant memories from that dry country always include the cisterns.  In every city and every rural home and building, water cisterns are everywhere.  Big ones.  Some are decorative and some of the biggest ones look like squatty grain bins, made out of corrugated steel.  But in the middle of the city, every house and building has a cistern on the corner catching precious rainwater and storing it so it doesn't add to drainage issues and can be used later.  This is such a fundamental issue for hydrating the landscape that it borders on immoral to not invest in it.

 Here in Mexico they don't even have gutters on their roofs.  As the world addresses water issues, whole cultures are going to have to rediscover water conservation and purity.  The amount of water that runs off a roof, even in a dry region, is quite astounding.  In a 31-inch rainfall area like the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, we get 20 gallons per square foot.  In a dry area like this in Mexico, it's half that. 

 But that means that even a 1,000-sq. ft. roof catches 10,000 gallons per year, which is not a small number.  When I think of what people are spending money on, from Hollywood to lottery tickets and pornography, I wonder what it will take before we invest in resource conservation.  I mean real, personal investment, not just vicarious investment like an environmental nonprofit.

 Have you figured the water runoff from your roof?  Why not catch it?

WILDFIRES:  WHEN WILL THEY LEARN?

 California wildfires are horrific.  We all know that.  I've addressed California's need to reduce fuel loads by grazing.

 But since animals are now taboo in California, the only solution is to do controlled burns.  But even that has the environmentalists soiling their pants.

 Governor Gavin Newsom has just declared a statewide emergency (apparently declaring emergencies is now the executive way to get anything done) to do tree thinning around 200 cities in the next year.    The list includes prescribed burns.  Some 35 projects are in the order.

 "The governor should reject this doomed, destructive approach" of thinning forests, said the Center for Biological Diversity.  I wonder what Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation who also opposes the plan has in mind.  Certainly not sheep.  Certainly not cows.  And certainly we need fake meat because animals are burping and farting and melting the polar caps.

 You see, dear people, the whole reason for herbivores across the planet is to prune vegetation and keep nature in balance through biomass freshening and functional plant CO2 intake.   Why is that so hard to understand? Reducing fuel loads by culling trees (I call that weeding the forest) and by grazing the undergrowth with livestock could actually cure last year's disease in which 1.7 million acres burned, including 14,000 homes and 85 people.

 Wildfires are nature's last resort to recycle biomass when it's old, piled up, and blocking juvenile, vibrant vegetation.  And no, you can't grow soybeans to feed fake meat vats on these California hillsides.  They're way too steep.  But you can grow, profitably and nutritiously, 4-legged mowers that make real food.  In case anyone forgot, this is the way nature has been doing things for a lot longer than Leonardo DiCaprio's foundation has been in existence.

 Let's connect the dots.  Herbivores are destroying the planet.  Soybeans will save us.  Reducing fuel loads in forests and fields is bad.  We need that fuel to feed wildfires which are superior ecologically to herbivores munching down the vegetation.  Folks, this kind of thinking makes you crazy if you dwell on it at all.  And you know what's most alarming?  These nonsensical people VOTE!

 I wish the governor would propose a grazing program instead.  Goodness, California ranchers and farmers constantly suffer from feed shortages.  They import millions of tons of irrigated alfalfa and other forages from irrigated desert places like Nevada and Utah.  Why not graze what's right there, in California, and leave the desert aquifers in place?  I confess that I no longer have any sympathy whatsoever for California wildfires.  I feel bad for the dead people and home loss, but where is the insurrection, the veritable pitchfork rebellion, to demand that the fuel loads be dropped by grazing and chain saws?  Oh, chain saws.  Now there's another demon.  But that's another post for another time. 

 Do you think a cow does more destruction than a wildfire?  Or even a prescribed fire?

COMMERCIAL KITCHENS AND DRUGS

I'm in Mexico, about 2 hours south of Mexico City, conducting my two-day master class for farmers.  The class is organized by the chapter leaders of the Weston A. Price Foundation here in Mexico.

 Both of the women who are ramrodding this event make and sell food.  One makes ferments and the other makes bone broth, like 200 pints a week.  The market for the ferments includes the Mexican affiliate of the supermarket chain HEB, which is prominent in Texas.

 Neither has a single license, permit, commercial kitchen, or anything.  In fact, the term "commercial kitchen" doesn't even exist in Mexico.  You can make anything in your home or farm kitchen and sell it anywhere without any permit; at least that's the story I'm hearing.  And I keep asking about it because it seems so incredible. 

 I'm waiting for everyone in Mexico to drop dead without "government oversight" on all these cottage food businesses.  Nobody is getting sick; they have more choice; great food is way cheaper in comparison to industrial.  This is why my dad headed to Venezuela in 1949 to farm; he saw the free market and food choice opportunity in other countries that did not exist in the U.S. --way back then.  It's only gotten worse.

 But here's where things get interesting.  The other tidbit is that Mexicans do not use drugs.  We Americans assume that since El Chapo and drug gangs often operate in Mexico and have extensions into the U.S. that people in Mexico must use drugs.  According to my hosts, Mexico is simply a conduit for drugs; nobody uses them here.

 So I'm trying to make sense of this.  Mexico has food freedom and no drugs.  In the U.S. we have food gestapo and lots of drugs.  Is it possible that the two are related?  Maybe if we had food freedom in the U.S. people wouldn't need to get a drug fix because they'd be getting an integrity food fix. 

 I don't think very many Polyface customers have a drug problem.  Perhaps good food makes you less drug prone.  In Mexico, they have food freedom and no drug problem; in the U.S. we have food tyranny and a real drug problem.  Instead of asking for more food police, how about we try freedom for a change?  Maybe it would eliminate our drug problem too.

 Do you know any integrity food buyers with a drug problem?

 PS:  If you like these posts, please share so we can touch more people with these kinds of connected dots that you won't see anywhere else.  Thank you.

GLYPHOSATE:  COURTS AND FIELDS

            By now I'm sure you've seen the jury verdict against Bayer, owner of Monsanto, affirming that the herbicide glyphosate under the trade name Roundup does indeed cause cancer.  I was frankly surprised, knowing how things go in courtrooms.  I thought that by splitting the lawsuit between the science and the negligence, Bayer would prevail.

             But that is not what happened, which means Bayer shares are falling like a rock and the multi-billion dollar acquisition of Monsanto may not have been a good decision.  With the court record now 0-2 and 11,400 lawsuits pending, we could be witnessing another tobacco moment. 

             But farmers are not juries.  And most farmers certainly are not San Franciscans, where these two trials have been held.  And so "Farmers Stay with Bayer Herbicide" is the big headline in the Wall Street Journal after these verdicts.  While shares are down a third since the first case, farm use appears to be holding steady going into the new season.

             Well, how much glyphosate gets used, anyway?  On soybeans alone, 120 million pounds.  On corn alone, 95 million pounds.  All other uses amount to about 60 million pounds.  Add all those up and you have 275 million pounds.  As you know I tend to do, let's put that in perspective.  A tractor trailer hauls about 50,000 pounds of freight.  So that's 5,500 tractor trailer loads.  A trailer is usually 48 feet long, so if you took off the tractors and just lined up the trailers end to end, that would be a line 50 miles long.  Just meditate on that a moment.

             Every year, every year, every year that's how much Roundup herbicide is dumped onto the U.S.  That doesn't count use in any other country.  Now you know why even in the face of multi-million dollar liability verdicts, nothing changes at the Monsanto production facility.  The herbicide is ubiquitous in farmland, the toxin of choice, favorite partner to control weeds.

             In the article, Waverly, Iowa farmer Mark Mueller is quoted as saying he "considers glyphosate essential for sustainably farming his 1,600 acres."  Did you catch the word sustainably?  Like many farmers practicing no-till, he says it helps keep his soil in place.  He could also keep his soil in place by growing perennial prairie, pruning it with herbivores (cattle instead of bison).  The assumption that corn and beans are the only viable things to grow is the underlying problem in this whole discussion.  But nobody can think that far out of the box, so it continues to be an argument between herbicide and tillage.  It can't be an argument between corn and grass.  And that's a shame.

             One more comparison for magnitude.  Officially, 214,000 acres of organic corn are grown in the U.S.  That's worth roughly $130 million.  Annual sales of glyphosate are $5 billion.  Talk about David and Goliath.  So all the organic corn grown in the U.S.  is less than 3 percent of the value of Roundup sales.  Kind of puts things in perspective, no?

 Do you think Roundup will go the way of tobacco?

IMPOSSIBLE FOODS, IMPOSSIBLE TRUTH

According to an article in Fast Company last week, Impossible Foods has had a price breakthrough for its fake meat by switching from wheat to soybeans.

 Soybeans, of course, are much higher in protein than wheat so in making fake meat for the Impossible Burger it stands to reason that using soybeans would be more efficient.  They also have a higher yield per acre.  They also account for the highest use of glyphosate, the herbicide implicated in the first two negative jury verdicts against Bayer, buyer of Monsanto.  Some 11,400 lawsuits are pending, but so far, Monsanto is batting 0-2 in its glyphosate claims.

 The statement that got my goat is from Rebekah Moses, senior manager of impact strategy at Impossible Foods:  "The best, fastest, easiest way to make meat more sustainable is to avoid the cow."  According to the company, their fake burger reduces the carbon footprint by 89 percent, uses 87 percent less water, 96 percent less land and reduces water contamination by 92 percent.

 I have news for you, folks.  The Rhode Island-sized dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico did not exist when perennials and bison roamed the prairies--in arguably more poundage than all of today's American cattle.  No, that dead zone came as a result of annuals, chief of which are corn and soybeans. 

 All of Impossible Burger's claims are audited and verified by Quantis, a consulting outfit.  Throughout the announcement, Moses kept talking about burps and gassing, deforestation and greenhouse gases.  This diatribe against herbivores and the fake science behind it is getting under my skin.  I have to take a deep breath and realize how many movements turned out to be horrible:  hydrogenated vegetable oil, anti-microbial soap, the food pyramid and many others.

 Herbivores, prairies, and predators built the soil in all the areas currently being mined by soybeans.  Perennials and not annuals; animals in symbiosis with plants--these are the truths that guide ecology.  The anti-herbivore crowd religiously refuses to ascribe any positives to mega-fauna.  And of course, their data points are all assuming corn-based, feedlot fattened, aquifer irrigated, continuously and over-grazed mis-management.  None of this dystopian production protocol mimics nature.

 Soybeans are as anti-nature as you can get.  Monocrops.  Chemicals.  Tillage or herbicide--trading the Devil for the witch. Killing perennials and prairie.  Mechanical harvest.  Soil extractive.  Fertility exploitive.

 The cow requires no planted seed, enjoys diverse vegetation, thrives on perennials, does not require mechanical harvest, builds soil, increases hydration--IF she's managed according to nature's template.  What all these fake meat diatribes need to say, to be honest, is an opening caveat that "compared to conventional industrial anti-ecological cattle production."  That would actually be honest.

 To demonize the most efficacious soil building mob stocking herbivorous solar conversation lignified carbon sequestration fertilization template in the ecological foundation is absurd and evil.  Why can't Impossible Foods simply offer their soybean alternative as a choice in the marketplace?  Why must they fuel their marketing message with vitriol against every herbivore on the planet?  Of course, they're very careful to single out cows, but if their message is correct, it must include horses, elephants, zebras, caribou, moose--every herbivore on the planet.  That's a pretty broad swipe, don't you think?

 Did God make a mistake when creating herbivores?

IMPOSSIBLE FOODS, IMPOSSIBLE TRUTH

According to an article in Fast Company last week, Impossible Foods has had a price breakthrough for its fake meat by switching from wheat to soybeans.

 Soybeans, of course, are much higher in protein than wheat so in making fake meat for the Impossible Burger it stands to reason that using soybeans would be more efficient.  They also have a higher yield per acre.  They also account for the highest use of glyphosate, the herbicide implicated in the first two negative jury verdicts against Bayer, buyer of Monsanto.  Some 11,400 lawsuits are pending, but so far, Monsanto is batting 0-2 in its glyphosate claims.

 The statement that got my goat is from Rebekah Moses, senior manager of impact strategy at Impossible Foods:  "The best, fastest, easiest way to make meat more sustainable is to avoid the cow."  According to the company, their fake burger reduces the carbon footprint by 89 percent, uses 87 percent less water, 96 percent less land and reduces water contamination by 92 percent.

 I have news for you, folks.  The Rhode Island-sized dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico did not exist when perennials and bison roamed the prairies--in arguably more poundage than all of today's American cattle.  No, that dead zone came as a result of annuals, chief of which are corn and soybeans. 

 All of Impossible Burger's claims are audited and verified by Quantis, a consulting outfit.  Throughout the announcement, Moses kept talking about burps and gassing, deforestation and greenhouse gases.  This diatribe against herbivores and the fake science behind it is getting under my skin.  I have to take a deep breath and realize how many movements turned out to be horrible:  hydrogenated vegetable oil, anti-microbial soap, the food pyramid and many others.

 Herbivores, prairies, and predators built the soil in all the areas currently being mined by soybeans.  Perennials and not annuals; animals in symbiosis with plants--these are the truths that guide ecology.  The anti-herbivore crowd religiously refuses to ascribe any positives to mega-fauna.  And of course, their data points are all assuming corn-based, feedlot fattened, aquifer irrigated, continuously and over-grazed mis-management.  None of this dystopian production protocol mimics nature.

 Soybeans are as anti-nature as you can get.  Monocrops.  Chemicals.  Tillage or herbicide--trading the Devil for the witch. Killing perennials and prairie.  Mechanical harvest.  Soil extractive.  Fertility exploitive.

 The cow requires no planted seed, enjoys diverse vegetation, thrives on perennials, does not require mechanical harvest, builds soil, increases hydration--IF she's managed according to nature's template.  What all these fake meat diatribes need to say, to be honest, is an opening caveat that "compared to conventional industrial anti-ecological cattle production."  That would actually be honest.

 To demonize the most efficacious soil building mob stocking herbivorous solar conversation lignified carbon sequestration fertilization template in the ecological foundation is absurd and evil.  Why can't Impossible Foods simply offer their soybean alternative as a choice in the marketplace?  Why must they fuel their marketing message with vitriol against every herbivore on the planet?  Of course, they're very careful to single out cows, but if their message is correct, it must include horses, elephants, zebras, caribou, moose--every herbivore on the planet.  That's a pretty broad swipe, don't you think?

 Did God make a mistake when creating herbivores?

SPRING

A pastured livestock farm shouts "SPRING!" like nothing else I know.  Sure, school sports programs shift into softball and baseball.  Easter is around the corner. 

 But to immerse in the awakening as palpably as the pulsating life in the grasses, buds, and birds on the farm is unlike anything.  Here at Polyface, we're scrambling in that mad transition from winter to spring where everything that was inside comes outside.

 We put out the first chickens last week; the first set of Eggmobiles is up and running.  The cows are all out, dancing and kicking up their heels in the fresh tentacles of new grass.  The first two cows calved Saturday; one was a set of twins.  With the cows exited from the barn, pigaerators are going in.  Goodness, are they happy.

 They run up and down on the deep bedding pack and quickly bury their noses in the soft carbonaceous diaper, looking for fermented corn.  That fermented corn will pay their work salary for the next month as they aerate the winter bedding, some of which is 4.5 feet deep.  Yes, that's not a typo.  It's up to your shoulder when you stand next to it outside the awning.  Lots for the pigs to do.  And lots of compost to spread.

 Thursday the first batch of broilers arrived.  That's a rite of spring that's hard to ignore.  When that van pulls in from the hatchery and 3,000 little yellow fuzz balls need a warm, dry, comfortable place it completely dominates your life.  These are dramatic, but wonderful, transitions and every spring I look forward to them more.  Probably because I like being cold less and less each year.

 The massive wood pile that looked immeasurable in the fall is a tiny pitiful pittance of pieces that hopefully will keep the chill off until we can shut down the outdoor wood stove sometime in May.  Fortunately, I don't have to go out right before bedtime to stoke it any more.  That's a dramatic shift too.

 On a factory farm, the shift is not as apparent.  Everything stays in the factory house regardless of how nice it is outside.  What a shame, that those farmers do not partake of the cataclysmic seasonal shift taking place in nature.  What a privilege to be able to touch and be touched by this powerful, profound awakening in the life around us.  To relish each blade of grass as a signature of seasonal birth.

 What's your most poignant touch of spring?

ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE WORSE THAN CANCER

According to an article in Small Farm Canada magazine, the World Health Organization estimates that by 2050, 10 million people will die due to antibiotic resistance, which is more than from cancer.  Furthermore, health care costs associated with antibiotic resistance will cost the global economy $100 trillion.

 As if that weren't enough, animal disease outbreaks are expected to rise, creating food shortages and higher food prices.

 This reminds me of an interesting radio interview I had with host Pat Buchanan shortly after Bill Clinton entered the White House.  Conservatives were making fun of Clinton's elitism because his chef announced that he would use free range chickens.  Buchanan looked around for a free range supplier in the Washington D.C. area and of course found Polyface.

 He interviewed me on his radio show and his first question was what made our chickens different than the regular industrial birds in factory houses.  My pithy answer:  "Our birds don't do drugs."

He asked why the industry fed drugs.  Of course, I had a longer response planned, but he cut me off after I only got to "It makes them grow faster."

 "What could possibly be wrong with making them growth faster?" he queried, making fun of me and obviously enjoying making a fool of yet another earth stewardship-minded person.

 Lots of things are wrong with growing faster.  In fact, cancer is fast growth.  That he could not imagine anything wrong with speed, or going faster, was almost beyond my ability to comprehend.  He cut me off immediately and that was the end of the interview.  I'm sure he thought I was another nut case earth muffin sitting around a yoga session singing kumbaya. 

 But here we are, a couple of decades later, and speed has caught up with us.  Just think of this report:  antibiotic resistance is more costly than cancer.  It's unthinkable almost.  If there is one food and health issue that is absolutely and completely human-caused, this is it.  Completely unnecessary.  Completely based on hubris and the law of unintended consequences. 

 Do you know how great a feeling it is knowing that none of these costs will be borne by customers of my beef, poultry, pork, and eggs?  Nada.  None.  And that all of my customers can sleep easy tonight knowing they are immune from the killer that exceeds cancer?  That's worth celebrating.

 How is your clean meat sourcing coming along?  

NUTRITIOUS MOVEMENT

Saturday evening near Oslo, Norway, I had dinner with several outstanding people and the one sitting next to me was,  very few years ago, a top Norwegian long distance skier.  He's now a top-ranked elementary school teacher.

 As an Olympic contender and at the top of his sport, he realized he was not physically fit.  The discovery came when he spent the day with a farmer.  He'd gotten interested in the soil-nutrition connection, and the food-health connection and simply wanted to experience a day on the farm.  He went to bed at 8 p.m. at the end of the day because the physical activity of the lowly farmer wore him out.

 This was a bit of an epiphany for him.  Here he was, a top athlete, and he realized he was not physically fit.  Furthermore, as he spent time in that elite spot, he realized most of those top athletes were actually not physically fit.  They were all on something.  One thing I learned on this trip is that all ski jumpers take asthma medication to help them breathe better, as a respiratory enhancement.  It doesn't qualify as drugs since it's over-the-counter.  Remember Mary Lou Retton, olympic gold medalist, at about 30 years old needed two new hips and two new knees.

 This elite athlete realized that fitness is about food and balance.  Of course, Crossfit workouts are an attempt to duplicate the myriad movements of regular physical work--the kind of movement our ancestors did every day.  But that's still make-up stuff.

 And so he found a tribe called NUTRITIOUS MOVEMENT.  Just like we don't want junk food, we don't want junk movement.  Every element of nutrition, these folks apply to exercise.  He started an organization called ATHLETES FOR FARMING with the tagline HEALTHY SOIL, HEALTHY ATHLETES and the logo is the silhouette of a runner high fiving a farmer with a shovel over his shoulder.

 I was fascinated by this notion of NUTRITIOUS MOVEMENT.  I've never been a fan of walkathons and similar fund raising techniques because they seem like such wasted physical energy.  Every day on the farm I know the limits of physical energy.  I've always thought that if you want to sell donations for physical energy, why walk around the park?  Why not sell fence post holes, or chopped out thistles and multi-flora rose?  Why not sell picked up pieces of firewood or rocks?

 A farm has a host of physical activities that are meaningful and intention-filled--why not sell those?  Hay bales stacked in a barn.  Green beans weeded.  A farm is filled with important work; here on the farm, we don't need to contrive fitness programs.  We ARE a fitness program, but it's meaningful work.  It's nutritious movement.  It's not junk movement; it's not empty activity like empty calories.  It's work carefully sourced, constructed, and served.  It satiates way more than just a gym workout.

 As valuable as a gym workout is, it only feeds the person exercising.  Real, honest exercise feeds other people and a mission bigger than ourselves.  Exercising consciously is akin to eating consciously.

 That an entire movement is now promoting and encouraging such thinking is music to my ears.  In a day where everything seems segregated, integrating our physical activity with purpose-driven work connects our bodies to their sustenance in a profound wisdom.    Why doesn't the church youth group, instead of spending the day at Busch Gardens, spend the day working on a farm?  Or instead of rock climbing, how about planting some veggies, or installing urban garden beds, or planting some fruit trees?  Maybe prune some trees and burn the branches to make charcoal, elixir of health for both plants and animals?

 Nutritious Movement offers a cornucopia of opportunities if we just take a moment to think.  Perhaps we need a recipe book for Nutritious Movement to go along with the one about nutritious eating.  Most people don't even know enough about what should be done with physical work to get started.  The parallels between our nutrition in the kitchen and our nutrition in exercise are infinite, and I deeply appreciate being introduced to this idea.

 How about you?

SCHOOLS PROMOTING LIES

Once in awhile something comes across my desk that is so good I just need to copy it.  Such is the case today.  This post by Diana Rodgers of The Sustainable Dish does not need embellishment, editing, or explaining.  It's right on:

 Yesterday, I learned that the NYC public schools would be participating in Meatless Mondays. On the surface, this seems like a harmless idea. Why am I getting so upset about it? One day without meat should be no big deal.


One of the biggest reasons I'm concerned is because the group is allowed to put anti-meat information in the schools. And they are not citing their sources or using credible science. Here are a few of the quotes 
from their memes:

"Global livestock production creates more greenhouse gas than the entire transportation sector."

"The energy required to produce a single 1/4 lb. burger would be enough power to charge your iPhone for six months!"

"Decrease your chance of getting diabetes by about 15% - Just skip a serving of meat every day and replace it with a vegetable protein like black beans or tofu."

"Producing a 1/4 lb. burger uses enough H20 to fill 10 bathtubs."

Not one of these statements are supported by evidence, yet these will be plastered all over NYC schools, teaching the evils of animal products to kids starting in kindergarten. Meat is a nutrient-dense food ideal for growing humans, and red meat in particular is actually much more sustainable, healthier, and less expensive the meat-free substitutes.

Meatless Mondays 
is sponsored by Beyond Burger and many other ultra-processed food companies. Does the story make more sense now? 

A similar program is rolling out in California, with lawmakers spending millions to convert public school lunches to completely meatless. Meanwhile, most of the kids who qualify for the program come home to fridges filled with free soda, courtesy of SNAP benefits.

 The folks putting out this propaganda have not studied farms like ours.  They've gleaned some data from the industrial, anti-ecological system, cooked some numbers, and come up with completely unsupported statements.  And our kids are swallowing it for the most part. 

 Question:  Where are the parents who will lay siege to the New York City schools to protect their kids from lies?

ANYTHING BUT NATURE

The Wall Street Journal this week carried a full-page story titled "Foul Nuggets?  Blame Bigger Birds." It's about squishy breast fillets, so-called "spaghetti meat" and "woody breast" costing the poultry industry hundreds of millions of dollars in discarded product.

 When naysayers tout industrial factory farm efficiency, they don't put these costs and losses on the balance sheet.  Up to 30 percent--yes, you read that right--of the breasts have some anomaly.  Researchers blame fast growth--the birds are growing so fast that the breast is developing faster than the oxygen and blood flow can service the new tissue. 

 Of course, "industry officials are confident that their high tech breeding operations eventually will be able to minimize the problems through genetic selection, the way the industry has resolved previous side effects of fast growth in birds, like weak leg bones and heart problems.  The process, officials said, is likely to take another few years," according to the article.

 I've grown these chickens all my life and it is indeed amazing what genetic selection has done.  Of course, those initial leg problems were fought with antibiotics, in the industry.  Here at Polyface, we dealt with it by feeding liver for additional B vitamins.  I don't know if the industry gave antibiotics for the heart ailments or not, but here at Polyface we simply pulled feed away for a few hours a day to slow the birds' growth rate.  That did the trick marvelously.

 As to these breast issues, we are not seeing it.  Same genetic base, but we're not having these problems.  Why?  Perhaps it's because we let the birds sleep.

 You see, the industry never lets broilers (meat birds) be in the dark.  Notice when you drive by those factory houses at night--a faint glow of lights is always apparent.  This stimulates the birds to eat more, just like when you become deprived of sleep you tend to snack more.  This technique enables the industry to grow a 6.3 pound bird in 47 days, a feat unheard of a mere 50 years ago.

 Here at Polyface, our pastured birds--remember, they're the same genetics--grow about 25 or 30 percent slower.  And they do not exhibit these problems.  Is it really as simple as that?  Perhaps.  Stress may play a factor, as well as minimal nutrition rations, genetically modified organisms, or other things. 

 The pondering point for today is to realize that pastured birds enjoying the normal life cycles of nightly rest, exhibit a health and vitality that the industrial factory farmed birds can never attain.  And their caregivers (people managers) never even consider a different production model; rather, they will continue tweaking the genetic selection process until only the ones able to handle the abuse have a chance to be born.  As the researchers say, however, that could take years.

 Meanwhile, here at our farm, we've already solved it simply by offering a more natural production model, a life that allows a chicken to be a chicken.  A bird naturally goes to sleep at night; their high metabolism requires a good rest cycle.  At its most fundamental paradigmatic level, the industry does not even consider the birdness of the chicken.  At all.  Therein lies the most insidious philosophy.

 Are the chickens you buy allowed to sleep?  Do you know?