Saturday, June 28, 2014

Our Veggies Aren't Vegan!

I am a subscriber of J.R. Organics CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Being a subscriber means that I pick up a box of fresh, organic produce at my local Farmers Market biweekly. 
I look forward to my box, and feel great knowing we are eating clean, chemical-free food and supporting a local family business. 

Today we took part in a farm tour.  The Rodriguez family has been farming in Southern California for 6 decades. Three generations work the business and live on the property. The proprietor, Joe gave us a a little history, and walked us through some of the property. He told us that they used to do conventional farming, but years ago he got sick from the chemical pesticides on the farm and learned organic practices and got certified organic as a result of that. 

We saw the greenhouses where tender seedlings are started in cooler months, shaded germinated areas, fields of squash, beans, tomatoes, kale, cauliflower, and more. We learned about crop rotation and pest control. We saw the washing and packing area where the various farmers' market orders are prepared
. Then we had a long walk to the strawberry field where we each got to pick a basketful to take home. 

A huge buffet awaited us after our time in the fields. There was strawberry lemonade and cucumber lemonade (so yum!), fresh guacamole & chips, rice, beans, turkey meatloaf (us vegetarians skipped that) squash soup, mixed steamed veggies, sautéed chard and at least 7 kinds of salads. I loved the spinach and strawberry salad and the kale salad. My overflowing plate of greenery was more than enough to satisfy. I skipped the strawberries and cream for dessert. 

It was a lovely outing, however there was a huge snag!

My eleven year old daughter is a 90% vegan/10% vegetarian, mostly for reasons of animal rights and not wanting to kill or abuse animals for food. While I support those reasons, I also value the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet just as much. 

At one point Joe spoke about fertilizer for his farm. He said that they use, among other things, chicken manure, bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion. (He also mentioned trapping and drowning squirrels). Well none of that sat very well with the kid.  She is very bothered that dead animals' parts are used to grow her food. She sent me these two texts from across the table: 

        Mom -.- this isn't even VEGETARIAN


So what now? My kid can't eat anything? She'll starve herself? One could drive oneself mad over this stuff. Even the certified organic chicken manure could come from chickens being kept in crowded poultry buildings on factory-chicken ranches. Ugh. 

I spoke with Joe and he basically told me that these fertilizers are standard organic farming practice. Yikes. Even my veggies aren't vegan!

I seem to have convinced my daughter that we could go to grocer & buy organic veggies and fruits and they would all have similar fertilizers. She's a bit resigned to this, but I've promised to research organic VEGAN fertilizers, at least to use in my own home garden. At least that is some mitigation of her concerns. 

I love her heart and passion. I've learned a lot because of it. But man, ignorance is bliss!