NewCo Shift
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NewCo Shift

Vegetarian diets are not going to save the planet.

I apologize for this.
  1. Does it allow you to do most of your food shopping at the grocery store?
  2. Does it require just eliminating one or two things from your diet or, alternatively, eliminating all but a few things?
  3. Does it excuse you from making substantial shifts in your diet as the seasons progress?
An opportunity to feed hipsters to my pigs.
  • Winter: it’s going to be mostly meat, root veggies, and stored grains/flours on the menu; we’re no longer spending energy heating greenhouses in the dead of winter to produce February tomatoes. Venison, grass-fed beef, turkeys, lambs, and ducks are all slaughtered in the Fall after they’ve fattened on windfall fruit and leftovers from tree and grain harvests. With outdoor temps at and in some cases well below freezing, the energy costs for storing meats are minimal.
  • Spring: the urban gardens start churning out early-season leafy produce while the food forests cart in wild edibles (ramps, morels, chanterelles, chicken of the woods, lambs quarters, plantain, dandelion) by the hogshead. Strawberries are only available for about six weeks, but they’re impossibly delicious. Eggs are everywhere and cheap in the Spring flush, and stewing hens aged out of the egg-laying rotation and roosters replace the heavy red meats of winter, but in much smaller numbers.
  • Summer: at prime ripening time, all the favorite farmers market staples are back. The urban gardens are putting out the familiar melons, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet corn, okra, and peppers while the a dizzying array of perennial tree/bush fruits march in from the forests: elderberry, huckleberry, chokecherry, blueberry, blackberry, cherries, grapes, peaches and all the jams, jellies, spreads, pies, and tarts that love them. Honey and sorghum harvests come toward the end of the season, providing sweetness throughout the rest of the year.
  • Fall: most of the staple harvests come in around this time; ancient grains grown between swales of guilded trees and rice harvested from chinampas in ponds are cut, processed, and ground in co-op mills along with huge tree harvests of hazelnut and chestnuts that have by and large replaced wheat flours. You will still enjoy pumpkin-everything, along with sunchoke, paw paw, cattail, and tuckahoe. Beer and bourbon are absolutely everywhere. Pigs, beeves, lamb, chickens, and ducks in the food forests are all fattened on windfall acorns, fruit, and grains that would have otherwise rotted on the ground and gone to waste.
“We will do nasty, nasty things for corn.”
  1. Satisfied with delaying the inevitable via industrial or organic “traditional” agriculture while people pray for World War III or a good hearty plague to nudge the population’s growth curve in the right direction.
  2. Insisting that we all join eco-villages or hippie communes, commit to 100% raw vegan diets, live in yurts, sleep with each others’ non-spouse lifepartners, and wind up with pink eye.



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Chris Newman

Building a new, accessible, open, and democratic food economy in the Chesapeake Bay region @ Sylvanaqua Farms