Bastrop Cattle Company

  (Bastrop, Texas)
Bastrop Cattle Company
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Too Big NOT to Fail

On Sunday morning a good friend and fellow farmers market vendor sent me an alert to a front page article in the New York Times.  The article is entitles, "Trail of E.Coli Shows Flaws in Inspection of Ground Beef".  The link is 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/health/04meat.html?_r=2&ref=todayspaper

If there was ever an arguement for local and sustainable processing of meat, this is it.  I strongly recommend that we as producers show this to all our friends, relatives and neighbors -- especially those who are on the fence about where they source their food.

I think that this is especially important because the government answer to this problem is more inspection and more testing.  Bastrop Cattle Company has every single one of our calves inspected before, during and after all steps of processing.  I don't have any problem with testing.

However, more inspection and testing won't take care of this problem.  These slaughterhouses are just too big.  They are processing too many animals.  AND there is no way that these guys will ever let the government put more inspectors in (and the USDA or FDA doesn't want to pay for the real number of inspectors it would take to really police these places).

We need to get people back to buying local and sustainable where we can re-develop the local community processing plants that use to exist.

 
 

Reducing the Carbon Footprint by Buying Local

Between throwing hay to the cows and delivering meat in Austin, I try to keep up with the food trends in the country.  This past week I listened to Mark Bitman being interviewed on NPR.  He was promoting his new book, Food Matters, which maintains that all of us can have a positive impact on the environment just by altering our eating habits.  Now since part of his suggestion was that we all eat less meat, I was a bit "vexed" to say the least!  So this weekend, I surfed on over to the NPR website and looked up some more on the interview.  I wanted to see if Mr. Bitman had differentiated the carbon footprints between grass fed meat and feedlot or industrial meat.  I also wanted to see if he talked at all about local, and sustaninable agriculture as part of the solution to reducing carbon dioxide.

No, he hadn't; at least not in the interview.  Maybe he does in his book.  I can hope!

Obviously, I have a self-interest in promoting grass fed beef.  And I do think that the grass fed movement for meat - be it chicken, beef or pork - does have a very important place in reducing our individual and collective carbon footprint.

 On my website blog, I talk about all the difference in how grass fed meat is raised versus industrial meat, and how that substantially reduces the carbon footprint of both the producer and the consumer.

However, what I think is of concern to all of us producers here on Local Harvest is getting the word out about how local, sustainable agriculture and local purchase of the produce, meats and products coming from local farms, ranches and artisans substantially reduces the carbon footprint of all of us -- as a nation.

Mr. Bitman talks a lot about reducing the intake of animal products and increasing the intake of veggies and fruits as a primary way of reducing each person's carbon footprint.  Now, I think (even though I raise and sell grass fed beef) that everyone would be better health wise to eat smaller portions of meat and substantially increase their vegetable and fruit intake.

However, here is my question; if you are giving up meat but sourcing your vegetables from across the country or out of the country, just how much have you really reduced your carbon footprint?

I think it is important that the word get out -- if people really care about the environment, then buy local, sustainable produce and meats. 

As the bumper sticker goes "Eat Local, its Thousands of Miles Better".

 
 
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