Omnivore’s Dilemma Chapter 8
Chapter 8 is the beginning of the Pastoral Grass Section. In this chapter Michael gets the chance to visit and help out at Polyface Farms. There Michael gets to see the symbiotic relationship between animals and grass in action.
Polyface Farms believes in raising a half dozen different animals to create a natural rotation that is better for the land and the animals (including humans) that live off of it. For example before the pasture grass is cut down for winter hay it is grazed on by beef cattle that turn this lush landscape into beef at the rate of two or three pounds a day . After each day of cow grazing the hen are brought in. They play a crucial role for both the grass and the cattle. They “pick the tasty grubs and fly larvae out of cowpats, in the process spreading the manure and eliminating parasites.” They also deposit a thousand or so pounds of nitrogen after which they produce rich and healthy eggs. By the end of the season these pastures will have been “transformed by animals into some 25,000 pounds of beef, 50,000 pounds of pork, 12,000 broilers, 800 turkeys, 500 rabbits, and 30,000 dozen eggs.”
In comparison to a factory farm this may not seem like a lot but when you realize that even after producing this vast array the land is lusher and more fertile you realize how special this farm is. And yet it doesn’t need to be, there is no secret formula for Salatin’s success rather he follows a natural cycle that is as old as time.
Chapter 1-3 The Plant: Corn’s Conquest, The Farm, & The Elevator
Chapter 4 The Feedlot: Making Meat
Chapter 5-6 The Processing Plant: Making Complex Foods & The Consumer: A Republic of Fat
Chapter 7 The Meal: Fast Food