She has just launched her new weblog, HonestMeat.com, and I think she is going go be a fabulous addition to the blogosphere—because the blog is basically about the good, the bad, and the ugly of raising livestock. She knows the right questions to ask, and she knows the answers to all your questions about raising meat: both humanely and inhumanely. And she hopes to get lots of comments, but none of the "non-anonymous pinhead" sort.
Rebecca and her husband, Jim Dunlop, run TLC (Tastes Like Chicken) Ranch out in Las Lomas, California, just a little past Watsonville. For several years, she was working with a non-profit, ALBA, for six years. Now she is going to be consulting, as well as taking time to garden with their little girl, Fiona, whose photo is below.
I had the pleasure of spending several days in Rebecca's company: we sat at opposite ends of my big dining table, working on our laptops. I designed her banner (we love it, because it's all about the grass), and helped her with some technical stuff.
Here is little Miss Fiona, decked out in one of the ballerina outfits from a trunkful Rebecca's father sent for her third birthday a couple of weeks ago. She was turning everyone at the artists' reception for the sculptors at Sierra Azul nursery into pumpkins.
Back to Honest Meat. Rebecca studied agroecology and international agricultural development. She's worked with farmers who used to be "the minority," who are rapidly growing in the percentage of land they're farming—many of whom used to be farmworkers themselves.
The sessions I spent with Rebecca were great—like having the best study-buddy in the world. She'd be working on her blog while I was working on mine (adding back in 300+ photos of farms that I had deleted some months ago). We're both applying for a grant to support our work, writing about sustainable agriculture. Between sips of tea or ice-cold beer, the give and take, back and forth exchanges enriched us both.
One of my goals has always been to figure out what to say to people like a shopaholic zillionaire I know who says she "can't afford to eat organic food." ("Sell one of your Humvees?" "It's cheaper than chemo!" is one good response that Jenny Kurzweil came up with.) Rebecca said that, during her grad school days, she managed to eat organically with some creative scheduling. On a budget of only $1600 a year, out of which she paid a modest rent, she still figured out some tactics, like arriving late at farmers markets and getting things cheap, and even dumpster diving—which suddenly sounded less frightening the way she described it. Given that she is someone who likes things to be clean, I trusted that she wasn't endangering her own health by rifling through a dumpster. And at the same time, I won't be suggesting it the Humvee owner.
So. Go read what Rebecca has to say at HonestMeat.com. Ask questions.
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: "Understand, when you eat meat, that something did die. You have an obligation to value it—not just the sirloin but also all those wonderful tough little bits." — Anthony Bourdain
Thanks for visiting. More soon!