Although the most recent chapter of this story started last August, the epic saga began many years ago when I was 16. I was sitting in the basement of our condo doing what many teenagers do…watching MTV. A commercial came on for a certain animal rights organization offering to send me their free informational packet. Being an animal lover, I promptly sent away for the information. In the mail a few days later came a package with all kinds of information. I immediately became a vegetarian…sort-of…I kept eating fish. But I cut all other types of meat. The information in the literature I received was eye-opening and terrible. It was the first time I had heard of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations…although I think they were just called factory farms at that time) and I wanted no part of that. Up to that point, I thought animals were raised…well… the way animals should be raised (outside and on the food they were designed to eat). So, this is what started my interested in the American food industry.
I remained a vegetarian for a long time, but over the years I began to introduce meat. When I was about 21, I introduced poultry. At the time it was a decision made to make life easier because trying to live, cook and share life with other people who have very different ideas about food is difficult. I continued only eating poultry and fish for many years, trying my best to be a better consumer of meat by buying better options (free range, organic, etc.). Fast forward to 2005 when I gave my life to Christ! It was soon after that I started to realize food, including meat, was a gift from God. But I also realized God created these creatures and He said they were good. I couldn’t imagine that God wanted us to raise His creatures the way we do in our commercial food industry. I couldn’t imagine that it pleased Him to see His good creatures cooped up in cages and factories, wallowing in their own feces and being fed food that He didn’t design them to eat (i.e. cattle are designed to eat grass, not grain). So, at that time I started introducing red meat, but again, I tried to be a good consumer and find better sources of meat (grass-fed!).
In addition to meat considerations, I have raised my own vegetables (organically of course!) for the past 18 years. Sometimes, this meant one tomato in a pot, but I have had full-fledged gardens in Boulder, Gunnison, and various locations on the Front Range of Colorado. For the past 7 years or so, I have had a plot in the community garden down the street from me in Littleton where I have learned so much about raising food in the dry Colorado climate. I will likely write more detailed posts about urban homesteading in the future, but since this is a very high-level summary of how I got to where I am today, I will leave it at that for now. In addition to raising my own food, I have been learning the art of preserving it for the past few years.
8 Ball Zucchini in My Community Garden Many Years Ago
There are many things you can do about your food sources when living in a condo. One of them is having a plot in a community garden. But one thing I have really wanted to do recently is raise my own animals for food. This is certainly one thing I cannot do in a condo. As an alternative, I learned to hunt. And, as God would have it, I will be going to Polyface Farm this summer to learn how to raise animals the way God intended! This part of the story started last August in a Bible study at The Well (the women’s group at my church.) The study was called “One in a Million” by Pricilla Shirer. The study is about getting to the promised-land. It is about “God’s call from mundane Christianity to a radical experience of Him.” It is about the greatness and the power of God…hearing His voice experiencing His power and living in the abundance promised by Him. Toward the end of the study, I was praying and asking boldly for God to show me what He wanted me to do in this life, and I was determined to listen and obey. I have asked God to show me my sweet spot in my life wrt my career for many years. I was content to remain where I was as long as that is where He wanted me. But as I was really seeking my promised-land last August, I ran across a notice on the Polyface Facebook page that they were accepting applications for their summer interns…so, I applied, and I prayed…
…to be continued.
Pronghorn Hunt September 2011