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Food for Thought

How can farmers and ranchers transition from raising animals to growing primarily plants?

This crucial question is starting to get noticed. Organizations such as the Transfarmation Project, the Rancher Advocacy Program, Miyoko's Dairy Farm Transition Program, and Animal Outlook are focused on supporting these hard-working folks to transition towards plants. I've learned that family and mid-scale farmers and ranchers are equally caught in the corporate contract monopoly for feeding hungry humans, and equally express frustration at Big Agriculture's status quo. Transition results show there's more profit and deeper sustainability when farmers and ranchers grow plants via smart solutions like: cover crops, no-till farming, drip irrigation, regenerative agriculture, organic solutions, proper field rotation, greenhouse farming, and for some even no-soil vertical farming (with investors providing high start-up funds). 

More food for thought: I have a heartfelt admiration for farmers and ranchers, and wished I'd grown up on a farm. 

  • I hope we can listen more about farmers' and ranchers' impossible challenges with our Big Heart and Big Brain wide open. The current monopoly-centric, corporate Big Ag system based on contract farming and ranching, as well as 'seed hoarding', pesticides, herbicides, and the over-use of antibiotics... are imbalanced and dangerously harmful. For everyone and everything. Full stop. In this scenario, winners are a tiny group of very rich humans. 

  • I hope farmers and ranchers can listen more to experts and advocates, who are trying to offer new ways to provide food for the masses, with their Big Heart and Big Brain wide open. Even advocates who come from big cities, have fancy degrees, and wear expensive shoes. I'm a city girl who gets it - I reckon others like me do, too.  

The current US-vs-THEM mind-set, pitting one ideology against another without much discussion or understanding, isn't working. Like, at all. Not knowing about viable solutions and our collective aversion to smart change are a problem and need our wise attention. Luckily, there are folks bridging this great divide as more companies, educators, farmers, and ranchers are coming together towards dialogue, humane approaches, and equitable, practical, and profitable alternatives. First, let's all listen more with our Big Heart and Big Brain wide open... and soon.

Why are some vegan activists so militant and preachy about animals and climate change?

Whenever humans become educated about an inconvenient truth, controversy and passion are sure to follow. What tends to drive activism is an immersive commitment to shed light on issues which are unsafe, unethical, inequitable, or just plain unwise. How humans have been treating food animals and eco-systems have dire consequences. I consider activists as society's whistle-blowers calling foul. I may also cringe at some of their tactics, since hard-sell approaches and public shaming never work for me. Yet, I'm grateful they're pushing us out of our denial, indifference, and dismissive stupors.  

More food for thought: we're all paying the price due to horrific choices, greed, self-absorbed pleasure, addictions, and food system ignorance in regards to human health, food animals, and eco-systems (including pandemics and climate change). These are clearly issues which demand a sense of urgency. I've contributed to some of the world's problems, too. Before I become food for fungi, I'm committed to positively adding value to some of its solutions. 

What do you think about faux-vegan foods like vegan cheese, burgers, and ice cream?

From a planetary and food-animal point of view, these faux-vegan products are highly beneficial (thank you!). From a nutrient and disease point of view, they can sometimes be almost as unhealthy as animals and animal products. This is due to adding high amounts of fat, sugar, and salt to make people like them and buy more. Other chemicals and additives such as heme can also be harmful. The faux-meat industry is booming. In 2021, global vegan food revenues reached $15.8 billion dollars (14.2 billion euros) with global revenues of $23 billion (20.6 billion euros) expected by 2025. 

More food for thought: for long-term health and longevity, I pretty much avoid almost all faux-vegan products. On special occasions, I'll use (and recommend) faux-vegan cheese from Miyoko's Creamery, the only brand my body can digest easily. By the way, Miyoko Schinner, aka the Queen of Vegan Cheese, is a badass chef, animal advocate, philanthropist, educator, and food pioneer. Other faux-brands give me the runs (TMI? sorry). If eating familiar foods like Impossible Burgers helps people transition towards eating more whole plants - like a gateway into more nutrient-dense choices - then great. Cookhouse Hero would love to witness a global shift towards becoming besties with beans, greens, berries, and broccoli and friends with figs, garlic, fennel, and flax. There are many ways to create delicious WPF recipes without using faux-vegan foods. No, really. Need support? LMK.

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