Hey Alicia -- Just a note to say that I always appreciate your takes on mainstream food culture, as well as on the ways food is portrayed in some of the more niche "foodie" spaces. I've been out here in sustainable ag land for so long that I really do forget how the rest of the country eats -- and while I'll continue raising chickens, and eating some meat (most of it very local) -- your pieces on how thoughtless most folks are about their food are always a solid wake up call for me. Keep up the valuable work!

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Hey Alicia,

I think this conversation deserves more nuance.

Food requires larger picture rather than smaller zoomed in lens. It requires people actually growing food to get a better handle on what it means to grow food and be in community with plants and animals simultaneously. Because there is too wide a separation between the two, there is a lack of understanding.

I am someone who has gone vegetarian from time to time and yet enjoys meat. Do I eat it all the time, no. But I do eat dairy and seafood all the while being aware that the consumption of all of it requires that I look at how and why I'm eating these products regularly. I mean, if we follow the cycle of life, then we do recognize that like the flesh we eat, our flesh gets eaten as well.

I also think that this conversation blows up into a race and colonialism dynamic, which is fair, but the reality is that Indigenous tribes have often eaten animals - they've done so in far better ways than Western culture manages. Western culture lacks of respect and connection to the spirit of humans and the spirit of the animals. And this to me is where the conversation becomes predictable and depressing.

When one chooses an entirely different way of life, it is usually because of a shift in the individual- a decision to find the spirit in oneself. Animals already have that connection, which is why it is painful to know that most meat comes from factory farms where they aren't cared or nurtured. They are literally being raised to feed an animal distanced from it's natural instinct. I would never tell anyone who is vegan that they're wrong or right, because there is no wrong or right, that's judgemental. There is however, the way in which we hold ourselves and our actions with integrity - in a way that is in rhythm with the greater rhythms of the earth and species.

I am very concerned with climate change, but I also believe that greater change in the food world comes not from blanket statements of I am/have giving/en this up, but actual hands in the dirt understanding of what it means to feed yourself while nourishing others. Most people, including the vegans in my life, don't know what that is. They don't understand that they may be eating organic, but we continue to murder the nutrients from the soil elsewhere, or that they may buy kale, but the women farm workers are also being raped, or that those farm workers aren't making a livable wage, etc. Again bigger picture - the food industry changes, when we decide our humanity toward each other matters more than just choosing one way to claim difference. And that can hold a lot of different methods if they work in integrity than in toxic masculinity, abuse, or violence.

I commend your writing and your thoughts. If I didn't, I wouldn't read your articles or support your substack. I just think that we literally have to go deeper than just saying eating meat is wrong - it leaves out all the ways in which the conversation can find solutions rather than refusals.

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oof, that science mag article... here for this imagining!

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