Kitchen Table Talks: The Meat of the Matter | Civil Eats

Kitchen Table Talks: The Meat of the Matter

Industrial animal agriculture and meat production and consumption have become central issues of our time. Between 1950 and 2007, per capita meat consumption in the U.S. increased an astounding 78 pounds per person per year and world meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. The health consequences from the overconsumption of meat—obesity, coronary heart disease, and cancer—are now well documented.

The 2006 United Nation publication, Livestock’s Long Shadow articulated the environmental impact of industrial animal production—and a new study further estimates that livestock farming on its own—disregarding all other human activity—could negatively tip the balance for climate change and habitat destruction by mid-century.

Between the serious environmental and public health and food safety issues associated with Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—known for their disregard for animal welfare, misuse of pharmaceuticals, pollution and mismanagement of waste, and concentrated corporate ownership; the importance of alternatives such as sustainable ranching; and the debate as to whether we should eat meat at all, lies an important conversation worth having regarding our role in meat’s global and local impact.

Join us for the next Kitchen Table Talks in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 to discuss “The Meat of the Matter,” where we will engage our community in a thoughtful discussion about this personal and very political issue. We will talk about how our current food system is structured to support industrial meat production, share new data underscoring meat’s deleterious environmental effects, learn ways to creatively reduce our meat consumption, and offer some alternative solutions to the industrial food system.

Joining us in conversation will be Kari Hamerschlag, a Senior Agriculture Analyst working in the Environmental Working Group’s California office. Prior to working with EWG, Kari worked for many years as a sustainable food policy consultant in the Bay Area, including a year long stint running a Farm Bill campaign for the California Coalition for Food and Farming.

Also joining us will be Kim O’Donnel, a trained chef, longtime journalist, and the author of the new book, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook. Formerly of The Washington Post, Kim has also written for many other publications and will begin writing a regular column for USA Today in November. She’s also a regular contributor to Culinate, where she hosts a weekly chat. In her work, Kim combines reportage and analysis on where and how our food is raised and grown with practical tips and advice on the kitchen life. Kim is also the founder of Canning Across America, a collective dedicated to the revival of preserving food.

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Marissa Guggiana is the author of Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers ; president of Sonoma Direct, a family business providing sustainably raised meats; and the co-founder of The Butcher’s Guild, a new organization to promote the art and interests of America’s sustainable butchers. Marissa is an editor of Meatpaper, a fellow with Roots of Change , and also sits on the board of Ag Innovations Network, an NGO that facilitates communication for stakeholders in regional food systems.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Viracocha , 998 Valencia Street @ 21st Street, San Francisco

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Food and drink at 6:30 p.m.; Discussion at 7 p.m.

Kitchen Table Talks is a joint venture of CivilEats and 18 Reasons , a non-profit that promotes conversation between its San Francisco Mission neighborhood and the people who feed them. Space is limited, so please RSVP. A $10 suggested donation is requested at the door, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Sustainable food and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Bi-Rite Market and Shoe Shine Wine.

Photo: Martin Gommel

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Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford and co-founded the Food & Environment Reporting Network. Naomi has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.  Read more >

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  1. Good stuff - I'm too far away to attend but I've put the word out.

    Here in Central Texas, a Betsy Ross and others like her are trying to integrate a movement toward grass fed pastured beef with a holistic approach to organic pasture and land management. She's doing some truly amazing stuff to regenerate deeply damaged soils, and is a great example of how to get beyond CAFO thinking and work toward the best solution for all.

    Personally, I was vegetarian for umpteen years and mostly still am -- it's odd to be promoting a beef ranch. But I can't say enough good things about what she's doing for local food, organics and permaculture. Worth checking out: http://www.rossfarm.com/

    Cheers!
  2. Richard
    "The health consequences from the overconsumption of meat—obesity, coronary heart disease, and cancer—are now well documented."
    They are??? Can you name a single study that demonstrates this? I don' think so, and please don't mention The China Study, which has been so discredited that it ranks right up there with Ancel Keys' work for bad science. Meat is not the problem, the animal factory system is the problem. Diets high in animal fats result in healthy populations that do not suffer from the so-called diseases of civilization.
  3. Winni
    @Richard: I couldn't agree with you more. I wish I lived closer so I could attend this meeting...
    Reducing meat consumption from industrial sources can be a good thing, but replacing it with soy products takes a bad food and makes it much worse. The peer reviewed research points to the fact that conventionally farmed industrial meat and animal fat is poison, but organic, grass fed and free range meat and animal fat is medicine.
  4. Gerardo Tristan
    The fact is that the way we eat, imposed by white wesrter culture, it's been defended BY white privileged folks and their "grass feed" fantasy. Nobody hardly talks about food aparthaid in US or the very negative impact of this "WHITE PEPOLE'S DIET" on minority ( up to 35% folks in this country). This people, who defend and talk widely about " the greatness of organic beef farms " sitll have the colonial imposing mentality and impulses. Also they are the foodies like Pollan who take 34 hours to prepare a goat for eating. How ridiculous and highly classist occurence!The food movement dont need this kind of crap!

    Richard,

    Aren't you the expert on health and diet uh! Folks like you are in denial and don't want to talk honestly about wester white diets and helth concerns.Please do your research before ranting about something indefensivle like the fact that meat is detrimental for human health.

    Get your carcass/meat/cafo's back to Europe please!

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