We would like to share today's Green Piece Indy tip with you. This is an important issue in Indiana, and one we believe we all should all be aware of, whether you eat meat or not.
Where's the Beef?
You sit down to lunch at a local restaurant, scan the menu, and notice a hamburger made with Indiana beef. Seems like the greenest choice, right? Maybe not. Before you say bring it on to that burger, keep in mind that "Made in Indiana" doesn't necessarily mean sustainable. Sure, it may have traveled a short distance from farm to fork, but did the farming process take a greater toll on our local environment?
Around Indiana, hundreds of Confined Animal Feeding Operations (a.k.a. CAFOs) and factory farms exist. These overcrowded feedlots, where animals gorge themselves on a grain-based diet before meeting their eventual end, often host more than 1,000 cattle, 2,500 hogs or sheep, or 100,000 fowl. Simply put, CAFOs and factory farms create significant air and water pollution. All that animal waste has to end up somewhere, right? And, if you've seen movies like Food Inc., you know that factory farms also pose serious health threats, including E.coli food poisoning.
In response, the Hoosier Environmental Council is hosting a factory farming webinar this Thursday, August 5 at noon or 6 p.m. If you're concerned about where your food comes from, this one's for you. If you can't participate, remember that purchasing meat and poultry raised by local, small-scale farms (like those you would find at your local farmers market) is always the greener way to go.
Of course, all of this begs the question, just how safe is our water? If you're a Marion County resident, round up a group friends, neighbors, or co-workers and contact Marilyn Hughes of the Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), at 786-1776 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The SWCD offers a free presentation that discusses water quality and conservation issues in the county and offers educational resources for those wishing to start their own projects.
Renee & Meghan