Feeding grain to pigs and chickens, says @JoelSalatin, is ecologically wasteful. On homesteads, pigs foraged and chickens ate kitchen scraps. Herbivore-based cultures relied on nature rather than performing the work of tillage.
[24:30] In the future, we will, of necessity, begin abandoning the petroleum-based, chemically-based, program and will return with our cool infrastructure. We will return to a real-time, carbon-based system.
Now this drove also the whole animal approach. So we talked about herbivores. Grain was way too expensive to feed to an herbivore. I mean, you couldn’t even feed it to an omnivore. So what did you feed to omnivores, pigs and chickens and things?
The reason that all cultures — their dietary base — was either herbivore based — which includes dairy (includes yaks and camels) — herbivore-based or seafood-based — was because those were the only two nutrient-dense dietary basics that could be produced without tillage.
In a day that you had to follow the ox with a stick, tillage was too laborious to be the backbone of anything.
So, in the future, we’re going to revert to that. We’re going to go back to that basis. You want to really eat ecologically? Forget eating chickens or pork. Eat grass-based herbivores. Water buffalo. Llama. Cow. Yak. Whatever. Zebra. Elk. Venison. Groundhog. Gopher. Herbivore!
[26:15] So what about the pigs and chickens? What were they? Their role, historically, was always as a fringe recycler. The pig was always on the outskirts. George Washington, he was so meticulous in his recording keeping in Mount Vernon. He always lamented the pigs, because they could never get them all rounded up at the same time. They could go out once in the fall and round them up. They would always have a few stuck back in the brush that they couldn’t find. They lived in the woods. They lived on chestnuts and acorns. They ate around the edges. In the das before refrigeration, they ate the whey from butter and cheese making. They ate the skim milk. Until 20 years ago, nobody drank skim milk. Skim milk wasn’t even worth drinking. You took the cream off, and you poured the skim milk out for the pigs.
[27:15] And then the chickens were always right up next to the kitchen in the homestead. Why? Because they got all the kitchen scraps. We didn’t have garbage disposals and landfills, and a garbage truck that came and picked up the trash and took it away. So something had to recycle that. All that kitchen scraps. Blemished fruit from the orchard. Blemished vegetables from the garden. Soured milk. Clabber that went bad. It went into the chickens. They were the ultimate recycler. And that’s what fed the poultry and the pork, because grain was too expensive to feed them. We needed all of the grain to bake bread and feed people. And people didn’t eat very much of that, either.
[28:00] Suddenly, now, here we are with this cheap grain thing. We have segregated all of these beautiful, integrated, carbon chains, local chains, these energy flows, all these historically normal energy flows. Now, fifty percent of the human-edible food in the world never gets eaten by humans. It never gets eaten by humans. Ninety-nine percent of it gets landfilled. Then we give greenie awards for somebody the is clever enough to put a pipe in there to get the methane so that we can drive all of the equipment to the landfull. No, no, no. We want want is all of that salvaged, blemished spoiled food, and combine it to the animals that are right there. We want to combine it. We want to integrate it.
[29:10] If we want to be ecological, what we would do is not go to a kitchen waste composting program. We would get a couple of chickens, and bring them into our apartment. They don’t take any more room than the aquarium, or the parakeet cage. One average dog produces more poop than eleven chickens. So we feed them the kitchen scraps. They eat those, and give us eggs. Now we don’t have to have any factory eggs than need to eat grain.
This excerpt was from a lecture given at Colorado College, sponsored by two student groups: EnAct (environmental and social awareness through research, education and action), and the Carnivore Club (promoting social awareness of the benefits and pleasures of meat).
In celebration of Colorado College Earth Week, Joel Salatin, a self-described environmentalist capitalist farmer, will come to lecture. Salatin owns Polyface Farm, where he describes his innovative farming techniques as “in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy, and healing the culture.” He was profiled in Michael Pollan’s book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” and has authored several books including “Folks, This Ain’t Normal,” “Holy Cows and Hog Heaven,” and “The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer.”
“CC Earth Week Presents: Joel Salatin” | April 27, 2012 | Colorado College at http://www.coloradocollege.edu/events/2012-04-27-cc-earth-week-presents-joel-salatin