Sunday, December 16, 2007

Grass Farming

After a terrifying first section on industrial food and a disillusioning second section on organic food, the third section of Omnivore's Dilemma gives me something to take heart in. Michael Pollan visits and, for a week participates in, a sustainable farm in Virginia. The working philosophy of the farm is that the sun feeds the grass, the grass feeds the animals, the animals feed the people, the people take care of the grass. The farmer manages the grass in such a way that it is constantly being nourished by the animals that it feeds. Different animals are rotated into pastures on a strict schedule that maximizes the benefit to the animals, the benefits to the grass and factors the recovery time needed for the grass.

A google search found grass farms in Maine. It makes sense to me to use these local resources for as much of our food as possible and to plan my trips to pick up food to coincide with my ordinary travel in order to minimize the environmental cost.

1 lb beef (I used organic, next time it will be sustainable)
1/2 lb. sausage (ditto)
1 egg
1/2 cup of barley
1 can of organic tomato paste

1 onion, chopped up
minced garlic (suit yourself)
season with organic maple pepper

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.
Enjoy for a meal, but meatloaf's real treat is the sandwiches from leftovers. I love to have it sliced onto wholegrain bread and sprinkled with alfalfa sprouts. Many years ago I had to make sandwiches for a homeless men's shelter in Nashville and thought about what would taste like a warm hug and decided on meatloaf sandwiches and alfalfa sprouts.


Anonymous said...

I thought it was cool that he mixes corn in to the cow crap in the pac during the winter and as time goes on the corn ferments. Then he lets the pigs in and they go crazy looking for the little alcoholic corn kernels and in the process they aerate the manure which can then be used as a fertilizer for the grass! It is cool how everything he does is so scientific, like knowing exactly how long the cows can stay on one certain field and how soon the chickens and turkeys follow. That is the way farming should be, if there weren't so many government subsidies encouraging farmers to grow massive amounts of the same crop then I think most farms would be sustainable. Farmers aren't dumb, they want to do what is sustainable but they also have to make money, it is kind of sad and I always look up to farmers, I know they are doing the best they can.


Beth said...

The man is a genius! I liked the portable shade so that he could get the animals to move around the pasture. You are my farmer/engineer hero, E.

The Texican said...

Green harvesting combined with chemically enhanced production methods have robbed our food of essential glyconeutrients to include at least eight simple sugars necessary for cellular communication. The absence of these simple carbohydrates damages the effectiveness of our immune system and thus we see more and more cancer and auto-immune disorders. These sugars can be supplemented along with amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and Omega 3's if your just too busy to start your own organic farm.