Photo by Joe Satran
When I was ten years old, I became a vegetarian. I knew what I was about. Growing up in Mississippi, I had seen the trucks that barreled down the highway shedding feathers, carrying chickens in cages that were obviously too small for any kind of movement. I had seen the huge cattle operations that lined the roads on the way to my grandmother's house. I was not down to eat anything that came out of any of that.
As I got older, my argument against meat became more sophisticated: It had to do with the economics of hunger and with the environmental impact of the meat industry in the U.S. I still don't want to support a system that uses such a huge percentage of farmland to produce meat products (a much less space-efficient way to produce food than growing vegetables, say) or that adds such a deep tread mark to our national greenhouse gas footprint.
But, last Tuesday, I was proud to be a meat eater again.
Once I moved to an area where sustainable meats and cheeses were available, I gradually began to incorporate those items back into my diet. I haven't been a complete vegetarian in two years. And last week, I got the chance to see an example of where and how the meat I now eat is raised when our Yale Farm summer interns and I drove up to Dom Palumbo's heritage livestock and poultry farm, Moon in the Pond in southern Massachusetts.