228 million eggs across the United States have been recalled because of salmonella. An Iowa producer, Wright County Egg, has announced the recall.
On one hand, my husband tells me it is impossible to feed the population of today with only local foods, that large-scale farming and distribution is a must. On the other hand, news like this makes me want to run to my nearest local egg producer and the farmers market, and buy all my food there. (Of course, thinking about the biggest local farmers market in my area proves my husband’s point, since most of the vendors there are either larger farms, or from the farming areas of the neighboring state, or both.)
I don’t think small-scale farmers are automatically immune to disease outbreaks, but there is something reassuring about knowing that the operation is small enough for the farmer to be hands-on with most, if not all, the crops growing there or animals being raised there.
I know vegan activists will make hay with this outbreak, insisting this is yet another sign that humans should give up eating all animal products. I am on the fence with veganism, and I haven’t given up all animal products yet. I think there is a way to raise animals humanely, although almost all animal raising nowadays does not meet that standard. I think also that humans need protein, and that it is too easy to get too much of the vegetable sources of protein.
But I did not start this post to write about veganism, or its perils and pitfalls. I started this post to let people know about the egg recall and to write a little bit about the perils of mass raising of animals for human consumption. People cannot expect to cram thousands or millions of living animals into tiny little spaces and have them be healthy.
Large-scale farming may be necessary to feed the world’s population, and animal protein may be necessary for human health, but there are better ways to do both than are currently practiced. I am also not convinced that we cannot farm a lot more on local scales, particularly for fruits and vegetables, than we do now.
I want to hear your thoughts on local food production and small-scale farming. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.