Stop the Presses!

BREAKING NEWS: I’ve decided I’m going to become more of a vegetarian again. I don’t consider myself a meat aficionado, but lately I haven’t been able to get away from the thought about what a huge impact eating meat has on the rest of the world. It’s such a selfish, short-minded thing, in terms of its impacts on our ecosystems, inputs required, and nasty outputs from the way most meat is produced in this country.

20120728. Distelrath Farms' poultry processing workshop.

Learning how to butcher a chicken from start to finish last summer at Distelrath Farm, Indianapolis.

At best, raising meat is a highly inefficient way to feed a population. So really, if I’m going to work towards living more sustainably and being less of a consumer, it was only a matter of time before I got to the conundrum of meat.

So what do I mean by becoming “more” of a vegetarian? I’ve decided to only eat locally produced meats – meats from farms I could actually go visit within the state of Indiana. This has the added bonuses of:

  • Supporting local farmers
  • Lightening my footprint in terms of greenhouse gas production
  • Minimizing the hormones and antibiotics that go into my meat (and, by extension, into me)
  • Limiting the amount of energy required to get meat from the farm to my place, simply based on its proximity

Win. Win. Win. WIN.

I’m also super lucky that our neighborhood restaurants seemingly more often than not feature meats sourced locally. No, I don’t have to give up my occasional burger at Twenty Tap, which uses hormone- and antibiotic-free meat from Fischer Farms. Thank goodness for that.

20120727. Little Red and Boo creepin' yet again.

Another huge part of this, in my mind, is raising our own proteins (in the form of backyard eggs) and growing our own vegetables, which can also be extremely energy-laden in our current food system to produce, depending on how the veggies are processed (frozen or canned, for instance).

Did you know it takes 35 kcal of fossil energy input for 1 kcal of beef protein? With that in mind, the quality of your meat better be really good to justify this very high use of fossil energy input. I consider this at least a small step in the right direction, in addition to expanding our garden.

early-august garden.

The backyard our first summer, July 2011.

20120513. One year in the house!

The same space, May 2012.

20121004. Chris cut up a ton of sod in the garden area. Halfway done!

September 2012. I need to get another bed in there this spring – look at that big, open space, just asking for some artichokes, tomatoes, beets, or chard!

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3 thoughts on “Stop the Presses!

  1. Awesome! That is exactly what I’m doing, too. I only eat meat I know. I’ve made it a month so far, and it’s great when you find a restaurant that serves local meat. Keep me up to date on your successes and challenges.

    • Your version of meat eating is one of the things that inspired me, actually! I’m hoping that this will be just the beginning of focusing on making EVERYTHING I eat more of a local endeavor (easy in the spring, summer, and fall; a little trickier in the winter).

      • I’m so flattered to be part of your inspiration!

        The winters are really tough for local eating, unless you really, REALLY love potatoes, turnips, carrots, and onions. Although, cultivating a love of root vegetables and preserved fruit might be worth it, if it alleviates my guilt of buying tomatoes and romaine lettuce in February from Mexico.

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