My family operates a grass-fed beef and lamb farm in Meredith, NY. I am on a New York state beef producers email list that shares information on beef news in New York, and when I received an email about a proposed CAFO that would house 72,000 cows, I was alarmed. Not only is the scale extremely big (it would be the largest CAFO east of the Mississippi) but it was being advertised as sustainable. I began to reach out to my personal network of academics and beef farmers and was surprised by the differing reactions. The resulting conversations and viewpoints brought to light the complexity of our current agricultural debate and the dire situation most rural economies find themselves in, especially in upstate New York. Read more

I am a city girl born and bred, with city needs and city habits. My junior year of college, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I took a course called “Religion and Ecology,” in which we read everything from the Jewish laws of kashruth to Buddhist texts; Heidegger’s “Technology;” to “The Monkey-Wrench Gang.” At the end of the course I vowed to spend time on a farm, to look a chicken in the eye as it died, to bear witness to the slaughter of a cow, something that would earn me the right to eat one of these sentient beings. Read more