Just Food, Earth Day and (why) It Is Ethical to Eat Meat

Spring Peepers are peeping, American Toads trilling and Wood Frogs are clippity clopping in the pond, amphibians dominate the April night soundtrack at the farm.  By day the goat kids chime in, punctuated by proud hens announcing their eggs, and occasional grunts from Checkers and squeals from her piglets, as they work out the dance of 7 bitty bodies taking in the warmth and milk of their 700 pound mama–  without getting smushed.

Throughout the week Evan and Mary and the musicians they have convened for this weekend’s modern baroque concert have been scooting in and out of the barn. What is that they are carrying? It looks like a coffin. Ah, the harpsichord! This week extraordinary music has once again been a backdrop to our chores. All of us are hungry for the concert coming up on Friday. We hope you can join us and enjoy the music in the barn and the pond!

Meanwhile we at the farm are blending action, ideas and emotions, occasionally with rhythm,

Liva on the Broadfork

melody, harmony and color but in fairness it isn’t really music, it is more of a buzz. ZZZZZzzzz…  Prepping garden rows with broad forks and glazer hoes. Hauling the pack of poop and bedding from the winter loafing of pigs, goats and hens in the hoop house out to form a compost windrow. Watering the tomato starts which will soon fill the hoop house. Seeding our +/-40 veggies that made it in the crop plan for this summer. Making lists and food for this event filled week.  Building out the farmstand and milking barn loafing area. Milking, moving the hens to pasture, keeping an eye on those adorable piglets and goat kids. Visiting State of Vermont offices to invite people to participate in the Farm Share pilot and join our farm share. Nostrils are dusty and backs are a bit sore.

Our minds have been working too. Too much! We got fancy and added a pivot table to our elaborate Excel crop plan and then Google Docs couldn’t keep up with us. New member Keith, pointed us toward Drop Box and we can once again share our mega-spreadsheet AND celebrate our inner geeks. Meanwhile, the New York Times Ethicist recently hosted an essay contest.  Mari answered their query “Why it is ethical to eat meat?” with some perspective from the farm and her time in Africa. [Read her piece on our website]

As Earth Day approaches, the dialogue around the NYT contest percolates and as we join the Barre Congregational Church as they explore the topic “Just Food”, we have been revisiting our farm values. We are determined to grow food that is delicious, principled and ethical. We are humbled by the struggle to be profitable in a world where food doesn’t typically meet those standards because production costs are outsourced. Outsourced in ways too numerous to list…to carbon in the atmosphere, to groundwater and watersheds, to sensitive ecosystems, some to workers without the protection of legal status, etc.

Whether you are in our foodshed or not, celebrate Earth Day by eating local and just food! And tune into your own amphibian neighbors and talented local musicians any time you get a chance!