My college professors were always imploring me to “compare and contrast” between various social models, stratifications of class, and distributions of wealth. Seeming mundane at the time, this academic exercise is a very useful tool to analyze any social issue we may encounter. Allow me to apply this tactic of academia to my practice as a modern day nomadic shepherd versus that of the modern industrial monoculture paradigm.
At the moment, I hear content feeding purrs from my seventy or so heritage turkeys as they gorge themselves on Japanese beetles sluggishly clinging to the dew laden raspberry leaves. My lawn chair and laptop are the only infrastructure involved. Chase, the border collie, lies by my feet keeping the flock within his sight and running off the wild turkey hen and her brood that insist on crashing our party. As this crop of birds grows, they will join the hogs in forage our abundant mast. First the black cherry, then hickories and the white oak, followed by the red oak and beech. This high energy mega fatty micro mineral rich crop far surpasses the commercial feedstock in producing an artisanal meat product that was patented thousands of years ago.
I need not demoralize us by taking us to a modern day turkey factory, but I do beg this question … who possesses more wealth: A sustainable free grazer who will put seventy or so very special birds on the holiday table, or the corporate farmer with several million dollars of private and government monies tied up in growing and shipping semi trailer loads of genetic mutants to the mega grocery chains?
The factory farm creates wealth for the doctors, lawyers, government regulators, and bankers … isn't it ironic that these same professionals will choose a Beechnut Turkey or an Oaknut Ham from Big Horn Ranch for their family gathering?
I truly look forward to meeting you at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR where I will chat about the genetics and logistics involved in weaning our farms and livestock off the USDA sanctioned Soy/Corn grid. Visit my website and drop me a line. Graze on!
Michael Wright will present a workshop at the Seven Springs, Pa. MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.