Usually my philosophy class fills me with untold dread. Between the far-fetched thought experiments and dramatic fights that occur between my classmates, I usually spend class periods perfecting my doodles of trees and piglets.
However last Monday the philosophy department at Chico State hosted a event called “The Future of the Farm.” The event was a panel with Dave Simon (author of Meatonomics) and Megan Brown (author of Beef Jar) as they hash out a couple of topics that were key to agriculture.
The night started out with a presentation by Dave Simon which was based loosely on his book Meatonomics. The presentation covered various agriculture laws, consumption of meat, and the difficulty of sustainable agriculture.
Obviously we have a difference of opinions on some of the issues. I appreciated how his argument didn’t turn into a agriculture hater session, but instead presented facts and figures that were well developed. (Well from his point of view anyways.) The main thing that I took away from his presentation was the inability of “All farmers to switch to ‘sustainable’ farming methods” because of lack of resources; something that I hope to explore further on and research myself.
Megan Brown, a beef rancher from Chico California, was able to dispute some of the more common misconceptions in the room. Brown brings up the point that “agriculturists are our own worst enemy” and that we need to “open our barn doors” and let consumers experience agriculture. One of the bigger misconceptions that she tackled was “factoring farming” and what is perceived and what actually happens on her ranch.
The real goldmine of the night however, was when the two panelists were able have a discussion with the audience. The great thing is that no one was condemning each others views and lifestyles. Instead, both speakers were able to come together to foster a discussion that would help promote a better world for agriculture.
They both agreed that:
We should all eat more beef–Brown was particularly happy about that. *redraft: upon further clarification Simon did not propose beef, but that if he did eat beef he would like to get it from a ranch like Brown’s.
- Waste is horrible, and we should only buy what we will consume.
- And that talks like this should happen more often.
After the conversation I went to address the mediator (My philosophy teacher) about his comment about agriculturist students not showing up to the event. It was really disheartening to see that I was the only ag-minded student there. However, when I asked students the next day about why they didn’t attend, most hadn’t even heard of the event. One of the students that I did talk to said that she was scared to attend the event because she thought it was going to be a hour of bashing agriculturists. And with a midterm to study for, it wasn’t a high priority on her list to be bullied for her chosen career.
It’s time that all agriculturists share what our lifestyle is about. Some great methods are:
- Starting a blog
- Talking to your friends and neighbors
- Creating a Twitter account to create micro-blogging samples of what agriculture about
- Just be willing to talk, and be understanding about common misconceptions.
I agree that we should open our barn doors like Brown said. It might be hard, it might be down right scary, but its the right thing to do.