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Thread: Chico Natural Foods co-op may carry meat!

  1. #46
    smoo + hat Chijou_no_seiza's Avatar
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    To fail to communicate pride in the ethical choices that we make is to concede the high ground to ignorance and conformity.
    This was very well said, and the best part of the letter in my opinion. I'm so saving this quote!
    "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." -- Albert Einstein

  2. #47
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chijou_no_seiza
    This was very well said, and the best part of the letter in my opinion. I'm so saving this quote!
    Thank you!
    It is not enough to be a righteous vegan, or even a dedicated, knowledgeable vegan advocate. The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.
    --Matt Ball

  3. #48
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quagga
    *Saturday, September 9
    10am - ??
    Big Bluff Ranch Tour
    http://www.bigbluffranch.com/
    Tour of a "free-range" cattle ranch in the North State to learn about free-range cattle farming, the quality of grass-fed beef, and small-scale slaughter practices.
    So, we went on this trip on Saturday - Walrus, Seitanic, and myself. I think we surprised the co-op general manager by our presence, but she rolled with the punches. For myself, I wanted first-hand knowledge of the ranch. One thing that made me happy was that this tour didn't have any better attendance than the FS tours I led. There was a group of about four or five people who had read a newspaper article about the tour and they went, but I don't think they were co-op members. Poor Seitanic got there first and had to listen to talk among these people about butchering and steaks--these people were even more disturbing as the tour continued as they were also hunters and just way-serious carnivores. Anyway, I think that there was perhaps one co-op member aside from the Chico Vegans who attended, plus about three co-op staff members. Not wanting to go incognito to this event, I even wore my "vegan" baseball shirt.

    So, the tour was interesting, but we never really saw any cattle, only their herd of sheep that produce lambs for sale. We also learned that their production levels are such that they wouldn't be able to distribute to the co-op anyway, so the whole tour was bogus wrt to the co-op meat issue, because this tour does not show the husbandry of the animal flesh that it will actually be selling.

    What they seemed to demonstrate was a marked improvement in the quality of their soil by the way they graze and move their animals over the past decade. They have more perennial grasses and fewer annual invasives (which is more like the native prairie in the foothills of California). This, in turn, has improved the hydrology of the area, leading to a re-vegetation of the streambanks in the area and return of beaver, turtles and other native species (we saw the beaver dam and young cottonwoods, willows and other riparian species). Essentially, they are learning to manage their domestic grazers to mimic the once-native herds of elk, pronghorn, and deer. Please don't take this as any kind of endorsement of grass-fed cattle raising practices, I'm just stating what I saw, and I think I know enough about the local ecosystems to think that their environmental claims are happening in part because of the way they manage their cattle.

    I could go on and on about their ranching practices, but I think I'll hold off. Suffice it to say, at the end of tour, we were gathered in their home where they offered the group cookies (homemade, and they actually apologized for them being non-vegan), tea, and probably some of the best peaches I have had all summer. I screwed up my courage to ask some hard questions--did they castrate and de-horn their animals without anesthesia? Yes and yes, but their cattle are polled cattle, and generally don't have horns. I asked if they sold veal -- and they were quick to answer no. I think our presence as vegans kept the group (and esp the CNF staff) from discussing quality (read: taste), slaughter, and recipes. I did not feel comfortable enough to ask more hard questions, and totally forgot to ask why we didn't see any cattle. This was the first time I have ever talked to a rancher directly.
    It is not enough to be a righteous vegan, or even a dedicated, knowledgeable vegan advocate. The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.
    --Matt Ball

  4. #49
    an open book Miso Vegan's Avatar
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    You go, brave quagga!

  5. #50
    Anti-anti-vacccine Dandelion's Avatar
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    you rock it girl!
    I can't believe you are pro-grassfed now!

  6. #51
    a wealth of stillness hazelfaern's Avatar
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    Sounds like an intense experience. Thanks for sharing this, quagga
    Ecology is permanent economy.

    Chipko!

  7. #52
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    One more thing -- the rancher was quick to clarify that grass-fed does not equal humane. I thought that was pretty honest of him, because certainly the perception of many people is that it is.

    And I guess this fellow was not the absolute first rancher I have talked with -- that honor would go to Howard Lyman.

    The trip was intense and I certainly felt like I was walking into a den of wolves, but the encounter with the wacko who compared me to Hitler was much more unpleasant and literally nerve-wracking. I think the difference was that on the ranch tour I had support from walrus and seitanic, but I was all alone in the encounter with the wacko. So I want to thank Walrus and Seitanic for being there and for asking questions as well--we all had things that we would rather have been doing on a lovely Saturday afternoon.
    It is not enough to be a righteous vegan, or even a dedicated, knowledgeable vegan advocate. The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.
    --Matt Ball

  8. #53
    hello, my friend, hello. walrus's Avatar
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    quagga did an outstanding job of asking questions. I didn't ask any questions! All I did was make little jokes under my breath to others who did not find them funny.

    On the way there my stomach was in knots and I felt ill. At some point during the tour that went away, and I wonder if it was because we didn't see the cattle, or they weren't pointed out to us anyway.

    It was actually a pleasant experience except for the droning on and on about the grass that was sprouting up from the ground. Oh, and they had a dog with a sore on his side that I pointed out to them but they made light of.

  9. #54
    tiny banana gur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrusd1978
    On the way there my stomach was in knots and I felt ill.
    i'd feel the same way.

    kudos to the three of you for going! quagga, you rock for asking them questions! brave warriors.

  10. #55
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walrusd1978
    quagga It was actually a pleasant experience except for the droning on and on about the grass that was sprouting up from the ground. Oh, and they had a dog with a sore on his side that I pointed out to them but they made light of.
    For me the grass was the most exciting part! It was like pointing out buds on a plant that will turn into beautiful flowers later, or leaf buds at the end of fall after all the leaves have fallen.

    I noticed the sore on the dog, too, but didn't remember to say anything. I'm so glad you said something, Walrus. Too bad they were blase about it.
    It is not enough to be a righteous vegan, or even a dedicated, knowledgeable vegan advocate. The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.
    --Matt Ball

  11. #56
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    ARTICLE: Panel debates whether food co-op should sell meat

    Chico Enterprise-Record
    9/13/2006
    By STEVE BROWN - Staff Writer

    Panel debates whether food co-op should sell meat

    "If yer don't eat yer meat, how can you have any pudding?
    How can you have any pudding if yer don't eat your meat?"

    from "The Wall"
    by Pink Floyd

    "Heifer whines
    could be human cries
    Closer comes
    the screaming knife
    This beautiful creature must die
    This beautiful creature must die
    A death for no reason
    And death for no reason
    is murder"
    from "Meat is Murder"
    by the Smiths


    In a figurative sense, meat can be murder to talk about. A subject that touches on nutrition, ethics, economics and the environment can stir up a lot of emotions.

    How can people get beyond the acrimony and other emotions the issue raises?

    That was one of the questions a panel addressed last week at a public forum sponsored by Chico Natural Foods. The 1,700 members of the food cooperative are being invited to vote this month on whether the store should sell meat.

    Emily Alma's response was "we have bigger fish to fry. We've got a world to change." Alma, one of the co-op's founding members, said she's distressed at the level of anger "between purists and carnivores" the issue has generated

    Randy Larsen, a Chico Natural Foods member for more than 20 years, said he doesn't "relish the idea of creating conflict," but thinks the proposal, which views meat as "a new revenue source," is distressing. "Animals are our brothers and sisters on this planet." He pointed out that "27 million animals a day are eaten in this country. Our store should be a refuge from that kind of violence in an ever-increasingly violent world."

    Larsen has taught business ethics courses at Chico State University.

    The six-member panel had three "no-meat" and three "meat-inclusive" advocates.

    At the start of the program, longtime Chico Natural Foods member Laurel Blankinship, who moderated the panel, called for a "healthy debate, where people can honestly disagree."

    "And no food fights," she joked.

    During the hour-long panel discussion, which was held in the City Council Chambers, the audience applauded some of the speakers. Nobody was booed.

    Robb Wolf, a former Chico Natural Foods board member, said evolutionary biology suggests that the "hunter-gatherer" diet of the Paleolithic age, which consisted mainly of lean meat proteins and fruits, was healthy. He said it was only when people turned to agriculture and introduced grains and legumes into their diet did nutrition levels began to decline.

    Wolf, a one-time vegan who is now an omnivore, said grass-fed meat has "extremely low fat levels. Eating grass-fed meat is like taking a nutritional supplement."

    But Jennifer Andrews, a current Chico Natural Foods board member, flatly declared "there's no reason to eat meat." She said a vegetarian diet reduces the risk of everything from hypertension and heart disease, to gallstones and kidney stones. She said people who avoid eating meat are exposed to fewer "carcinogens, mutagens and pesticides." She said vegetarian diets are higher in fiber and lower in cholesterol.

    Andrews, who has a master's degree in nutrition education, said studies suggest that people under 40 who eat a vegetarian diet may add eight years to their lives if they're male, seven years if they're female.

    Alma argued that each human body differs in its nutritional needs. "The predator-prey relationship is just as appropriate for humans as it is for other omnivores in the food chain." She said although she's mainly a vegetarian "there are times when I get a craving for meat. I think it's different than a craving for sugar or for the extra roll you shouldn't have."

    Alan Gair, who has worked in the food marketing and advertising business, said he has no argument about the value of a vegetarian diet. But he said Chico Natural Foods needs to change its approach. "You're being selfish and exclusive. Hardly anybody goes into your store. Hardly anybody knows you exist. You have to open your doors to the whole population and not be censorious. Modern retailing will crush you."

    Greg Tropea, a restaurant owner, former Chico Natural Foods board president and interim general manager of the store in 2003, said "being a 'me, too' store is boring, boring, boring. There's no life, there's no spice. There's a sameness of choices."

    He said Chico Natural Foods needs to "evangelize" for both a vegetarian diet and a co-op economy, which is "a radical alternative to absentee-owner capitalism."

    Chico Natural Foods has already established its niche, "but we need to develop it," Tropea said. "We need to be who we are and we need to do it really well."

    RachelOriana Schraeder, Chico Natural Foods general manager, said regardless of whether meat is sold, the store will continue to uphold high ethical, environmental and health standards in the foods its sells.

    She said because the store is a co-op the shareholders have "equal democratic control" and their vote will decide whether the store sells meat.

    Schraeder noted that Chico Natural Foods is not like other stores. "To use a playful metaphor, we are bananas in a world of apples and oranges." Expanding on the metaphor, she said, "we are fair-trade, organic fruit."

    At the time of the panel discussion, 200 members had cast ballots.

    Each member will receive a ballot in the mail. Sept. 30 is the last day to vote. Membership costs $25 a year per household.

  12. #57
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    The author of the article failed to report Randy Larsen's quip to the Paleolithic former vegan -- that perhaps the co-op should turn into a "fruit and meat store." Randy was full of these incisive statements that just cut to the ridiculous quick of the "meat-inclusive" panel. I'm still working on getting the video.

    Robb Wolf, a former Chico Natural Foods board member, said evolutionary biology suggests that the "hunter-gatherer" diet of the Paleolithic age, which consisted mainly of lean meat proteins and fruits, was healthy. He said it was only when people turned to agriculture and introduced grains and legumes into their diet did nutrition levels began to decline.

    Wolf, a one-time vegan who is now an omnivore, said grass-fed meat has "extremely low fat levels. Eating grass-fed meat is like taking a nutritional supplement."
    It is not enough to be a righteous vegan, or even a dedicated, knowledgeable vegan advocate. The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.
    --Matt Ball

  13. #58
    half a block from Normal Emiloid's Avatar
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    Randy Larsen also talked about the issue on his show EcoTalk last night on KZFR. His guests were Emily Alma (a panelist) and Jim Brobeck (who was supposed to be a panelist, but had a sub in his place--I don't know why). It was a good discussion, but at times frustrating in the same way the meeting was: that there's a fundamental difference of opinion, outlook, and information between the two sides that prevents a consensus. But isn't that always the way...?

    eta: Randy, as usual, made some excellent points. Jim Brobeck was talking about how much better it is for the land if we graze ungulates on it, to replicate the effect of deer, elk, bison, and so on that lived on the land before we exterminated them. He said in effect, "we have to kill some or the herd will just keep growing and growing." Randy said (and I'm paraphrasing), "I don't understand one thing: why do you need to breed them?" Jim went on about dairy for a while, saying you need to breed the cows to "freshen" their milk production, blah blah blah. Randy asked, "Why do you need them to make milk? Why do they need to do anything besides keep the land in good shape?" Jim said, "Well, they breed on their own anyway," and Randy countered with the suggestion that if it's really about concern for the land, why not just spay and neuter your livestock? Jim's reply to that was that some people are not as sentimental about animals, and they know the place of livestock in the "energy cycle". *sigh*
    Last edited by Emiloid; 09-13-2006 at 06:38 PM.
    wocka wocka wocka

  14. #59
    thread-neutral quagga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Emiloid
    Randy Larsen also talked about the issue on his show EcoTalk last night on KZFR. His guests were Emily Alma (a panelist) and Jim Brobeck (who was supposed to be a panelist, but had a sub in his place--I don't know why). It was a good discussion, but at times frustrating in the same way the meeting was: that there's a fundamental difference of opinion, outlook, and information between the two sides that prevents a consensus. But isn't that always the way...?
    Ya shoulda given us a heads-up on the radio show!
    It is not enough to be a righteous vegan, or even a dedicated, knowledgeable vegan advocate. The animals don't need us to be right, they need us to be effective.
    --Matt Ball

  15. #60
    half a block from Normal Emiloid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quagga
    Ya shoulda given us a heads-up on the radio show!
    I know. I'm so sorry! I actually came into it half-way through the show, at 6:27 or so, but I wasn't sure if it ended at 6:30 or 7pm. I thought I'd wait to find out... and then I plumb forgot!
    wocka wocka wocka

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