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Urban Meat, Part II: Pigs

| 8/16/2013 10:06:00 AM

pigA friend gave us a copy of “Farm City” by Novella Carpenter just as we were considering getting pigs for our own little city farm. We read it in bed with the boys and we all laughed along as she shared her adventures (dumpster diving for pig food included) in raising, killing, and eating her porkers. “Alright!” we thought, “If she can do it so can we!”  The power of example cannot be underestimated!   We are eternal optimists. No, that’s not quite it. We are eternally optimistic about what we can do. And getting excited about new ideas is what we do best. “Bring on the hogs!” we said which caused our eldest son to spontaneously start jumping for joy shouting, “We’re gonna have bacon!  We’re gonna have bacon!”  Bless our little omnivores.

Through a friend in Central Nevada we found two piglets for sale which she bought for us as a thank you for work we’d done on her strawbale home. She delivered them in late August, just eight weeks old and cute as buttons, all 35 pounds of each. They were Yorkshires (basically the pink variety of pig) and female. We’d chosen female because there was no way I was about to castrate a male so the meat would taste better on my first go with hogs.

Pigs, like rabbits we figured, were another superb urban meat source. I read several old stories about thousands of pigs kept in and surrounding cities to convert the waste into meat. Local animals fed off the waste stream of humanity. It makes so much sense it's almost confusing. We figured we could do the same, humanely-raised and with plenty of space and love.

As I am wont to do with new endeavors, I happily shared our plans with friends and acquaintances and, sure enough, was rewarded with lots of advice and stories. I was amazed at how many people, city folk that is, raised pigs for 4H or FFA as kids or even paid for college/a car/travel off their pig earnings. For me, having grown up on Long Island, NY, it was both strange and endearing to learn of such widespread pigginess. Here’s a sampling of the advice/stories I got:

I was almost eaten by our pigs after I fell into their pen

We found out our pig was eating our chickens when we saw it luring chicks with food

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