This week proved to be filled with excitement, expansion and LOVE. It started off with a trip to Los Angeles for the training of 112 new employees for the upcoming opening of the new Cafe Gratitude in the Arts District of downtown LA. Whenever we think, “really more employees, more food, more….. we stop and put our attention on the employees of the past who have become such amazing, inspiring, leaders in the world, and that always has us sign up for the next Cafe. Thank you to all those who keep our attention on what matters most, the opening of hearts, the expansion of love, the right livelihood of our work place… you make all the difference.
On our lunch break at the new employee training, look what showed up to entertain us all!
pretty precious. Being a grandmother is the BEST EVER!
This week on the farm we harvested some GIANT lettuce… see the first picture of my sweet husband holding one of the giant heads! We also cooked our first hamburgers, see Matthew eating his first in over 40 years! I promise this transition has been challenging and insightful and we are ever so thankful for the sacrifice that our cows made.
Here is Matthew’s response to someone’s questioning our adding meat to our diet, a great question.
Perhaps I’ve e failed to explain adequately why I would pursue the path of eating flesh after 40 years of vegetarianism. The answer is non-violence but non-violence to the whole system, all species. Agriculture is most violent destructive force on the planet. It has caused the extinction of more species then any other activity. Earth balance margarine is made from Canadian canola. Organic or not this product required a plow to destroy Canadian prairie an act of violence against burrowing owls, ferrets, prairie dogs, dozens of insect and bird species. If that prairie had been maintained in grassland with well managed cows or buffalo those species would not be killed or displaced.
30% of the world’s surface is grasslands, Grasslands need herds of ruminants to thrive, when they are removed, the grasslands degenerate into desert. Desertification is violence against all species including humans. The conflict in Syria and Iraq can be easily tied to desertification, mismanaged soil. Herding ruminants are our best tool to restore fertility to the earth, keep the earth covered, and reverse desertification and climate change. If I knew of a better or even another solution, I would choose it. We need cows to keep the earth alive, cows make an extreme sacrifice for humanity but that is their position in God’s plan as food for the predators. Cows maintain the grass, predators maintain the herd by culling the weak and sick. We can be part of that sacrament. Sacrifice is part of life. As in the passion of Christ, we all have to spill our blood for humanity to know the Father. The cow’s sacrifice was been ordained, ours we must choose.
Wendell Berry quote:
“To live we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do it knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively it is a desecration.”
We attended a Allan Savory workshop on a neighboring farm this week and I had the privileged of sitting next to him at dinner. We had an inspiring conversation about “biltong” a South African style of dried beef and he taught me how to make it the real way. Here it is drying.
Legend has it that Biltong is the food that gets credit for the strength of the men in South Africa, it is a peppery salted cured meat, made from the muscle cuts.
Again I remind you all that we feel like vegan ism is a great response the the abuse of animals in the industrial food system, AND that animals raised in a healthy and humane way are a great source of nutrition for humans. It is so important that we bridge the gap of “knowing our food” and don’t sell out for distancing ourselves from the full cycle of life and death.
This week I am reminded of the power of God’s grace and the importance of letting it in.
P.S. Flashback… look at these photos of cold brewed coffee and almond milk, now sold in grocery stores… 11 years ago this month when we opened our first Cafe Gratitude in the Mission District of San Francisco, people would ask us daily, “How do you get milk out of an almond?” and “What is cold brewed coffee?” We’ve come a long way baby!