Summer means barbecue season for us, but one day recently, I craved roast chicken and dressing (stuffing), one of my favourite meals.
Modern supermarkets have made the acquisition of food easy. As I prepared the chicken for the oven, I remembered my mother's stories about the chicken dinners of her youth. Her family had hens for eggs, but the hens often ended their days in the roaster for Sunday dinner. The family killed and butchered the animals.
Mom especially hated to see roast lamb on the table, knowing one of the cute animals she loved was now her supper.
In the fall, her father butchered a cow as well. As a result, Mom hated everything to do with animals on the farm. When you have looked animals in the eye, it may affect how you feel about them as dinner.
Today we are far from the farm when it comes to our food. Those days of the family farm, when the animals ate grass and hay and chickens roamed free in the yard are long gone. The supermarket has sanitized the acquisition of our animal protein, but industrialized farming
can mean the product was injected with hormones and antibiotics, fed questionably, and treated inhumanely.
The reality on this island is the self-sustaining family farm is almost a thing of the past.
Here many farm homes stand empty and barns are in disrepair or collapsed.
The last generation to work the farm has died and the younger generation has gone to greener pastures. Farms which once sustained families with crops and animals for food and transportation are a thing of the past.
Now, most of the traditional farming methods which were environmentally friendly, and often organic are gone too, as industrialized farming has taken over.
While I am glad not to kill and butcher the chicken myself, I lament the loss of the family farm. Will there ever be a day when we go back to the traditional farm? With over seven billion people of the planet, I think not. If anything, food production will be more industrialized. Buying organic is cost prohibitive for many people. Back yard and community gardens provide healthy vegetables at low cost and are worth the effort. Maybe such gardens are as close to the family farm as we will be ever again.
On second thought, do you think the neighbours would mind a rooster crowing at sunrise?