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Monday, March 5, 2007

This week at What's for dinner?

Amy Hassinger starts exploring where her food comes from. As she discovers the unsavory side of American agriculture — the destruction of family farms, the way animals are raised and slaughtered, the ecosystems threatened by agribusiness — she begins to wonder what a "Seventh Principle" approach to food might look like for her family.

(Among the blog responses so far: Katharine, newly converted to vegetarianism and grateful to UU World, makes it to the checkout lane only to be brought up short: "I spend hour after judgmental hour regaling my friends about the horrors of caffeine, red meat and sugar -- and here I am buying not ONE item of 'food' that isn't processed, fatty, sugary or all three." Elizabeth, however, thinks the magazine didn't wag its righteous finger vigorously enough, and wishes it chewed her out for driving a car, too: "I want to read an article in the UU World telling me how unethical it is for me to drive my car in a city with public transportation. I want a faith that says, 'Hey. Get tough. Small adjustments are not going to cut it in these times.'")

In the news, Jane Greer reports that the UUA has filed shareholder resolutions with three companies in which it owns stock — Abbott Labs, Clear Channel, and Valero Energy — urging the corporations to let shareholders vote on executive pay. At the news blog, Sonja Cohen tracks other stories about Unitarian Universalists in her weekly roundup; among them is an op-ed by UUA President William G. Sinkford calling for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. And, with Democratic presidential candidates marking the 42nd anniversary of the Selma, Alabama, Voting Rights campaign, here's a look back at the UUA's role in Selma in 1965 from UU World's archives.

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 5 March 2007 at 7:42 AM

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March 5, 2007 10:11 AM | Permalink for this comment

Glad the eating article is being brought to the attention of our blogging world, and of course, very appreciative to be mentioned on one of the best UU blogs around. I responded very briefly over at Elizabeth's Little Blog

Pat McLaughlin:

March 6, 2007 02:49 PM | Permalink for this comment

It's a great article... but a shame that the puritanical streak of vegetarianism ran off with it. People need to act and eat and live more responsibly. But being chided and naughtied and disapproved and shamed for where they're at isn't helpful.

There's a lot to be said for a more responsible diet. The argument against industrial meat is a solid one.

The argument against all meat isn't.

And when people who've decided they're comfortable, happy and able to be vegetarian talk about the evils others are committing... it turns the majority off--not just the majority of Americans, but the majority of UUs. I go out of my way to be patient and tolerant and accepting and welcoming of my vegetarian and vegan brothers and sisters (we have groups over for soup on a regular basis; I make sure that if there's at least a vegetarian soup, and normally a vegan one). But I don't see it coming back.

No, I don't expect them to make me a meat-based soup or meal. But it'd be nice if they'd unmix their own rationals and justification and reasoning... and listen to what others are doing, if differently. Buying beef that's raised in state, my a family-run operation, that's grass fed, only--on land that isn't and shouldn't be used for farming, but is fine as rangeland. Buying as much produce as possible that's organic AND local (your organic Chilean produce isn't really very ethical...). Having our own flock of very pampered chickens so we have our own egg source.

But the best I've seen so far is a sort of 'oh-yeah' nod as a post-script to fervent vegetarian proselytizing...


March 7, 2007 08:19 AM | Permalink for this comment

More on food from PeaceBang and Boy in the Bands.


March 7, 2007 03:40 PM | Permalink for this comment

My sister is a militant vegan and I can't stand to be around here. I dared cook bacon around her and she associated the smell with "dog's feces".

She takes herself a little bit too seriously. And that's the thing about militant anything: it has no sense of irony. The whole situation is almost comical.

What concerns me is that I see us moving in in the not too distant future towards some Soylent Green like reality where only the rich can afford actual food and the poor have to make do with the waste products.

Maybe in some respect we already have that.

I buy organic produce (as well as meat) at the local farmer's market (not at Whole Paycheck) and the actual costs are not that more than a conventional grocery store. But the convenience of a grocery store: complete with pharmacy, personal hygiene items and the like are what I miss. I end up having to make two trips: one for organic food and one for everything else.

I used to believe that organic-this, organic-that, was little more than some faux-hemian fashion statement.

But having recently been diagnosed with the beginning states of pre-diabetes, I have noticed a difference since I began eating organic foods. There are so many chemical addictives and added sugars to conventional food.

Consider myself a recent convert, but I'm not giving up eating meat.


March 7, 2007 06:30 PM | Permalink for this comment

I understand people's concern with militant, judgmental vegetarianism. I think it is important to remember that everyone does what they can - some of us fly less, some of us drive less, some of us rescue dogs, help our neighbors, grow gardens, and some of us eat vegetarian. We can't all do it all, and I hope by pointing out in my post about the UU World article on ethical eating that I need to do a lot of things different in my life - drive less, fly less, etc. - that I made this point. We are all doing what we can. That said, what I was doing was simply expressing that I think that encouraging people to push themselves - when it comes to a range of our living practices associated with compassion, sustainability, and the environment - would be best and would be what I would like to see from our denominational magazine. No chewing out. No finger wagging. Just encouragement about what is possible and doable, as vegetarianism seems to be for a lot of people. Of course it isn't for everyone. We can't all do it all. There are lots of friendly, non-judgmental vegetarians out there, and I certainly intend to be one of them and regret if it doesn't come across like that. All the best, Elizabeth from Elizabeth's Little Blog


March 8, 2007 05:31 PM | Permalink for this comment

Even more on food from Elizabeth (who wonders why people perceive her vegetarianism as judgmental) and Jess (who thinks she knows why).

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