Above, a Saturday farmers market attracts huge crowds in Beijing, as street vendors call out prices and buyers vie for the best produce: live fish and crabs and freshly butchered cuts of meat.

Fresh produce is sold for few hours every day in Beijing’s street markets, offering a dizzying array of variety and freshness. But as China’s urban population grows, supplying local tastes could prove challenging. When rural residents migrate to the city, some reports show a greater dietary consumption of meat.

The USDA forecasts a rise in China’s meat consumption over the next decade, with pork, already the most popular, expected to rise the fastest. There’s speculation, however, that less expensive chicken will take a greater market share.

And the appetite for chicken feet, pig ears and innards is more than a cultural tradition: Using the whole animal has provided food security for China, and could provide an export opportunity for producers in the U.S., says Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

Image and text by Rodney White, via Instagram. China, 2014.

In a report by Pulitzer Center grantees Lynn Hicks and Rodney White, read how Shanghai looks to duck the “middle-income trap.”

American Road by Martin Ystenes - http://hei.cc on Flickr.

His words contain the paradox of the Red Delicious: alluring yet undesirable, the most produced and arguably the least popular apple in the United States. It lurks in desolation. Bumped around the bottom of lunch bags as schoolchildren rummage for chips or shrink-wrapped Rice Krispies treats. Waiting by the last bruised banana in a roadside gas station, the only produce for miles. Left untouched on hospital trays, forlorn in the fruit bowl at hotel breakfast buffets, bereft in nests of gift-basket raffia.

Finally, hard facts in support of my “red delicious apples are friggin gross” hypothesis.

3

Pictured above is the world’s largest indoor farm illuminated by LEDs, which opened this month in Japan. Inside, 18 cultivation racks reach 15 levels high, and are outfitted with 17,500 GE LED light fixtures developed specifically for this facility. The indoor farm can grow lettuce two-and-a-half times faster than an outdoor farm, and is already producing 10,000 heads of it per day. Read more about this breakthrough in modern farming at GE Reports.   

Small-Space Gardening

Growing food in small spaces can be fun and productive — you just need a little sunshine and some imagination.

By Roger Doiron

PHOTO: VERTICALVEG/SARAH CUTTLE

7
Finding Quiet Moments on Local Farms with @wings_of_tin

For more lush portraits of life on small farms, follow @wings_of_tin on Instagram.

“Farming is the dedication of your life to the stewardship of plants from seed to harvest, for better or for worse, in good weather or bad, through pest and disease, at all hours,” says Nikki Seibert (@wings_of_tin). “All of this back-breaking and often heart-wrenching work is done to provide food for family, friends and neighbors.”

Nikki spends almost every day working with local farms in Charleston, South Carolina, where she runs a sustainable agriculture program for organic farmers.

“I’m a ‘farmer of farmers’,” she jokes. “A childhood filled with outdoor adventures, hardworking parents, and countless hours spent building, growing and fixing things created the trifecta for me to end up in a career in agriculture.”

Nikki uses Instagram to showcase her favorite colorful crops and the green, flourishing landscapes of the farmlands she visits.

“I hope my pictures show how important it is to support the people and places that make your community unique,” she says. “Also, how much I love playing in the dirt.”

I remember touching one of the sows in those crates. She was red and big with fourteen piglets tussling off to the side. She flinched. I could feel a strange sense of horror deep inside me, but I pushed it down. I rested my hand on her back and, for one brief moment, she leaned into it and then jerked away, as if burned. She could not understand my sudden interest in touching her with gentleness, no pig in the pork industry does.

Anyone who can explain the rightness of a cage has never been in one, never felt the sides of it pushing and denying access to the natural world. They have not felt the frustration of nothingness, of being restricted, of being in a barren, empty world. When her instinct drives her to make a nest for her babies, she cannot. When her preference would be to nurse her piglets in a deep bed of leaves, she cannot. When she wants to run away from the humans who abuse her, she cannot. When she wants to burrow in straw with her sister and brother, she cannot. And when she is desperate to save her piglets, when they are taken forcibly from her at 2-3 weeks of age, when the wrongness of that separation is evident in her tense muscles and strange cries, she can do nothing to stop it. Everything done to her is an attempt at removing her from instinct and desire and what she wants and needs.

We know what happens to her piglets. They too will be stripped of their dignity and of their pigness. Then they will be killed and eaten by a species who does not need meat to survive. She will spend years in that cage, repeatedly artificially inseminated, repeatedly denied access to a nest and the outdoor world, repeatedly abused and repeatedly stripped of her babies.
I don’t need meat to survive. You don’t either. Pigs need to be allowed to express all that makes them them. And they cannot do that on a farm or in a place that sees them as roasters and production units. Since there are so many alternatives to pork, there isn’t any reason not to start choosing a compassionate diet now. Do it today, for the millions of sows denied true motherhood and the hundred million piglets turned into pork. We must honor who they are by not reducing them to what our palates desire.
Marji Beach - Animal Place Sanctuary. 

x x

Text
Photo
Quote
Link
Chat
Audio
Video