A Farmer Mulls Vegetarianism


| 2/7/2014 11:27:00 AM


Tags: vegetarianism, Missouri, Bryce Oates, HOMEGROWN.org,

I’m a farmer who cares about living within the rhythms of the annual cycle of living and dying. I might have fairly complicated human ambitions, but those are tempered by a grounded sense of the soil and the climate and the sunshine and the rain. These things help keep me mostly honest, at least when it comes to my agricultural endeavors.

I live out here on the homeplace because I like it. I enjoy living with plants and animals around me. I am part of the place’s ecology. I am a living and breathing creature, albeit one who can wield immense power via tools like fencing and knives and fossil-fuel-driven engines.

So that’s why I’ve chosen to explore a concept that I’ve struggled with over the years: vegetarianism.Baby Goat Kid On The Farm

I want to say first and foremost that I’m 100 percent pro-veggie. I grow veggies by the truckloads. I eat them every day. I feel strongly that people eat way too few green plants and way too much other junk. I am concerned about American fatness and heart disease and diabetes. I think most Americans would be better off if we quadrupled our intake of vegetables. My recipe for a better nation would include more farmers growing more and better veggies and more people cooking and eating them.

I’m also a good enviro with street cred. I hate factory livestock operations. I don’t like monoculture. I believe in preserving wilderness. I feel strongly that our society’s inability and lack of political will to deal with greenhouse-gas emissions is likely harming both human economy and nonhuman ecology in incredibly negative ways. I think we should work hard to decrease fossil-fuel emissions. I am, and have been, an activist involved with each of these issues.

I don’t believe in the mainstream agricultural prescriptions of genetic engineering, indoor meat production, or anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. They do more harm than good, and they are all very expensive, short-term solutions to the long-term question of how humans can feed a growing population.




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