December 03 2019

The Case For Better Meat

By Mark Sisson
10 Comments

It’s Giving Tuesday, and while I know the world is full of good causes, today I’m highlighting one close to my heart. It’s one I’ve contributed to significantly because it matters on so many levels.

I’ve spent nearly 14 years working against the tide of misinformation out there around human health and agricultural agenda. Diana Rodgers has worked tirelessly and creatively for the same purpose. She’s just launched a crowdfunding campaign to finish what I think will be one of the most groundbreaking, revolutionary documentary films ever—one that has the power to turn the public conversation around health and ecology. But she needs support to finish and distribute this film, and that’s why I’m sharing her campaign today.

Read more and watch her video to see for yourself.

Diana’s film, Sacred Cow: The Case For Better Meat, details the movement toward the greatest revolution in agriculture—a regenerative food system that supports the human need for a nutrient dense diet and the ecologically sound farming methods that mirror and contribute to the natural health of the land itself. 

Diana is a licensed, registered dietitian who’s spent the last 17 years living on a working organic vegetable and pasture-based meat farm, and all of her experience and study comes to bear in the film she’s created—a critical message that challenges the prevailing and destructive food system that undermines our individual health, our economic viability, and our environmental sustainability…and champions the intersection of nutrient dense food and regenerative food production for the good of human health and the good of the planet.

Below is Diana’s note. Watch the video. Read more on her site. Share her work and her crowdfunding campaign—and, if you can, contribute. Let me know what thoughts her work inspires for you. Thanks for reading today, everyone.

It’s official: I’ve just launched the crowdfunding campaign and I could really use your help!

As you know, I’ve been working super hard for the last three years on this project, without much of a break. It’s been a struggle at times, but it’s finally coming together – all because of you. Without you, this never would have happened! Thank you.

Please get in there and check out the new video with footage from the film, read about the film’s progress, pre-order my book, get a shirt, or pick up some meat!

SACRED COW CROWDFUNDING DEC 2019 from Diana Rodgers on Vimeo.

Research shows that campaigns that have early funding are the most successful, so if you’re planning on giving, I could really use your help today!

It would be incredible if everyone on this list would share with your friends and family. Let’s make this go viral!

All of the funds raised will go towards marketing the film so as many people as possible can access it easily. Click here to donate now.

Thank you so much for your support!

Happy Sunday,

Diana

P.S. If you were forwarded this email, please sign up here, so you can be the first to know of any updates (or fun campaign surprises!). I’d love to have you in this community!

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10 thoughts on “The Case For Better Meat”

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  1. Couldn’t agree more and have donated. Let’s all do the same! Money where our mouths are and all that.

  2. As a farmer and grazier – primarily the latter, but current systems require a certain amount of stored fodder and grain is currently the most cost-effective method – I am deeply interested in ways of doing what we do, better.

    I am not here to destroy my land. Not only is it a multi-million dollar asset that I could not hope to destroy, but it is also my home and integral to my sense of self.

    If I was in it for the money, I’d do far better selling out and investing the proceeds….. but I hope you understand that I can’t live in poverty, either. It costs us money to live. There are unavoidable costs that must be covered regardless of which farming system I use. It costs money to keep a farm productive and in good condition.

    Likewise, there is a responsibility to be productive. We have been told for decades that we are facing worldwide famine due to population growth, and we have only avoided it through modern technology and highly productive farming methods.

    So yes…. I am deeply interested. I will adopt new methods when I see them producing the goods, both in terms of product, and in returns.

    Regards….. Peter.

    1. PeterW, farmers and graziers are at the heart of this issue – both in terms of securing their livelihoods and assessing productivity of new models. It’s a complex conversation, and I appreciate your interest. Best — M

  3. As a small scale farmer raising 100% grassfed cattle and pastured pigs utilizing Managed Intensive Grazing I very much appreciate that you are bringing attention to this timely and important documentary. We all need to be urgently concerned with the state of our soil around the world. As our soils are depleted our food will be lacking in nutrition. Regenerative agriculture is crucial to raising nutritious food in a way that builds soil health. I encourage everyone to seek out local farmers raising animals in a humane way and support them by purchasing from them. Thank you so much for bringing attention to this information especially during this time when misunderstandings and lack of knowledge about agriculture leads to misinformation being accepted without question. I contributed to the film last week.

    1. Sharon, thanks so much for sharing here. You’re on the front lines of food production and land management, and I know I’m not alone in saying I appreciate your commitment to visionary change. Best — M

  4. Thanks for sharing this. The video looks really good.

    There are a lot of problems with farming that we really need to think about and solve together. I’m glad to see that there are people getting together to do just that. We’re a powerful importer too. If we decide that our meat has to be grown a certain way, it will inspire those who export meat to provide it. And incidentally it will improve their working conditions and wages. Fewer chemicals should make every farmer happy. The only reason they gripe about it now is because they hardly spare a thought for the people who have to be in contact with it.

    What about supporting the people who work temporarily on farms? They can’t be treated like they are now. If this is the edge of a farming revolution, then let’s do it right.

    What about training for farmers? One of the issues with Organic is that farmers end up paying large amounts for the training. It becomes scam-like and no doubt in some places real scams around the Organic label do occur. The training has to be easily available from an organization that people can trust. It could be USDA, but we see how well that worked out with Organic,… well, it really should be USDA but first we’d need to divest it of corporate influence.

    I know there’s a lot of libertarians in the world who think small gov is the best. I used to be one too. But I hope it’s obvious why having only private labels and private organizations is a bad idea. If the USDA continues to be a mouthpiece for conventional farmco, then the private organizations will be fighting with it. That’s not the job of the gov, to stand in opposition to what an organization wants to do. I’d even say it’s unconstitutional, because it’s direct competition, or at least, playing favorites among the farming ideas.

    If the government did slim down to a point where it was neutral and we had only private organizations running the show… at this point, the advertising money would be far more easily spent by multinational corporations than it would be by a new Paleo/Grass Fed label, or even the old Organic organizations. The message would not be equally “loud” in the public conversation. I don’t think we’re really going to neutralize the money issue, so the only thing we can do is make sure that official government messages are neutral and equally helpful for each farming idea.

    We can call the new sustainable farming ideas anything we want, Paleo, Organic, Beyond Organic, Pastured, Permaculture, etc.. but if farming training videos from USDA contain mostly the conventional message, and more training videos from Big Ag are available for free or for little money, then we’re literally fighting against the government that should be supporting us. We need our institutions to be neutral on farming practices. We can’t even let them favor us, because to favor one idea over another brings the same constitutional crisis.

    However, right now, the official American food system overwhelmingly favors what I would call bad ideas in farming, like no-till with glyphosate application. Those are the ideas that are easy to train farmers for, because the training materials are easier to find and cheaper. Plus the subsidies are stacked in favor of it, and they get a big advertising bump by corporations with big pockets. That’s the Big Ag advantage that we’re working against. It won’t be an easy advantage to neutralize.

    We’ve been trying since the 1970s.

    So dream forward and grok on, but be aware it takes more than a movie. It can be done though. Even in times like these, there are those in USDA and EPA and FDA who are wishing that we’d win and they could act the way they feel is right, instead of how the current revolving door director thinks they should act. We can do this, we have allies. We always did have allies.

    If you look at the USDA Organic website, their link for the organic videos is currently broken. https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/organic-certification/becoming-certified

    The link for the official USDA video series on organic farming from Washington State Dept of Ag is actually here: https://agr.wa.gov/departments/organic/apply-for-certification/certification-videos

    (not even hosted on the USDA site at all)

    Compare with their training page for conventional: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/animalhealth/training-and-development

    How do we avoid this favoritism in a new sustainable Ag movement?

    We have tons of internet savvy people in this community. We could fix this sort of problem in a few months. Who’s going to apply to USDA and do it? Or who will enter politics to help divest our institutions of corporate influence? Who will support politicians talking about revolving doors between corporations and the public sector?

    We have a lot of work to do and a movie is a good way to educate a lot of people. I’m grateful that it’s being made. I couldn’t agree more with it.

    1. We have a market-based system (subsidies aside) so it seems that the first big step is educating consumers so that suppliers who meet consumer demands for quality are rewarded. Right now, demand is mostly limited to two aspects of meat: cheap and easy to chew. That is what is currently rewarded and almost all ranchers must compete in the cheap and soft market, which is getting tighter and tighter.

      The fact that Grass-fed and finished will bring a few extra dollars per pound should already be helping drive some change. I am certainly seeing more options where we shop.

      The film and blogs by Mark and others can be immensely helpful to help inform and change the market demand. Talking about these points to others helps move public opinion. Debunking propaganda films like “game changer” also helps.

      Evolution of ranching methods and approach is of course critical but I don’t know if that matters until we have a population that will pay for healthy sustainable meat and/or perhaps eat less quantity of better quality to keep the budget costs the same. Once we have demand, those that wish to supply will find the help and advice. It is out there. Once there is a good market, there will be those who refine methods for efficiency.

      This site (MDA) is more about consumer choice and demand, which is the horse that should pull the cart. Apart from debunking false claims that influence consumer decisions, this does not seem to be a site for agricultural information and policy.

      Nothing wrong with mentioning it all, but I think that there are bound to be better places for pasturing methods, optimization for health and assuring reasonable income and other policy discussions.

      And of course, it’s good to hear from ranchers that are trying to stay responsibly in the game, how it’s going so far. Keep working and networking on this as we all hope you find success! Thank you.

      1. Actually that was about the movie. I’m hoping these issues get talked about in it. Because if we don’t deal with the systemic issues that prevent many Americans from seeking health, this movement is at risk of going along the same path as Organic. Just a few months ago a USDA official was trying to claim that GMOs should start being allowed in the Organic label. How long before it’s OK to use antibiotics on Grass Fed cows? How long before GMO alfalfa hay is considered “grass fed”? The systemic issues are a danger to the ideas in this movie.