Sunday, December 12, 2010

Start looking for local sources of animal protein (Change 94)

I watched a very interesting, and very disturbing, movie the other day.  For those of you who have seen Food, Inc. you'll understand why I'm now trying to find local sources of pork and poultry.  For those of you who haven't seen the movie, you should.  You will never look at food the same way again. 

This quote from the movie's website ( says it all - "In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment......Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here."

This movie (nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary), watched in companionship with reading The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food, both by Michael Pollan, has really prompted me to think about where the food I buy really comes from.  DH and I enjoy growing our own vegetables - we've had fairly successful crops of lettuce, spinach, potatoes, and tomatoes before.  But winter means buying fruits and veggies at the store.  And of course, having a house in the suburbs does not allow us to grow our own meat.  And althought the film details American farming, I can't help but have a sneaking suspicion that the reality of Canadian farming isn't that far off.
I've been surfing the Internet in the last few days, trying to find local sources of grass-fed, preferable organic, animals, as well as starting to look at potential Community Support Agriculture shares.  I've narrowed the list down to a few possibilities.  In the New Year, after all the holiday craziness has died down, DH and I are going to take the kids on a road trip to check the farms out.  I hope this leads to another eco-change or two in January - buying food directly from a local farmer.


  1. Haven't you got a farmers' market nearby? The meat is usually from smaller farms, so, while it might not be organic, it is more ethically raised, and often hormone-free.
    My brother was outraged by Food, Inc. He's a bovine vet and insists that the meat industry in Canada is nowhere near as bad as depicted in the movie. However, I think the reality is that in the Atlantic provinces, Quebec, Ontario and BC, where beef productions are done on a small to medium scale, things are nowhere near as bad. But the Prairie provinces have their share of industrial-sized cattle farms, and poultry and pork farming across the country wouldn't be in hot water right now, if it weren't for the fact that they've gotten too big for their own good.
    One way to minimize your food-carbon-footprint in the winter months is to stick to seasonal vegetables -there is a surprising wealth of them- even if you have to buy imported produce. They require less input from the get-go, so their transportation output is almost cancelled out.

  2. Agree, it's a life-altering movie. Now reading the book "Eating Animals" by Jonathon Safran Foer, which provides an even more in depth look at the factory farms. "Inhumane" doesn't even begin to define the problem. The eggs I buy are "humane certified," but I'm finding no meat/poultry with the same guarantees. *sigh*

  3. Thanks for your comments, djp and dmarie. Yes, we do have several farmers' markets in Ottawa, but truthfully, I can never coordinate myself and my family to make it out during their short hours. I'd rather find a farmer willing to sell me a 1/4 of a side, and I can pick it up at my convenience.

    As for seasonal winter veggies, we eat lots of squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes and other root vegetables. But DH and DS are meat eaters, so I strive to find something to appeal to all appetites.

  4. This movie also changed our lives! This inspired us to start learning how grow our own food and to really start thinking about what we purchase at the grocery store. Not just for our health but for the animal's and the environment's too. Nice post!

  5. Thanks, EcoBlogger. I'm looking forward to trying some local meat products in the near future.

    I've managed to find a source for sweet potato slips, so I'm going to add those to my list of veggies grown in the garden this year. Keep your fingers crossed!

  6. cannot wait to hear more about your farm visits!

  7. Thanks, Urban Girl. I'll keep everyone posted.