Last night I went to a special screening of At the Fork, a food documentary about the welfare of animals raised to be on our dinner tables. First off, it was not a preachy, go-vegan film. So I hope you omnivores will keep reading.
This documentary follows the exploration of farming system in regards to raising chicken, beef, and pork. It shows the corporate, large operations as well as the small, independent producers. It does a good job giving a balanced look without telling you what to think. It allows you to draw your own conclusions, so here are mine.
I've always tried to make a conscious effort to eat meat from happy animals, animals that were raised in a humane way with access to sunshine and grass. I invite you to read my post about Sinclair Family Farms and Taramasso Ranch on how they raise happy livestock and chickens.
I buy my eggs at the farmers market from farms that have pasture raised chickens. Not only does my conscious feel better, but the eggs taste better.
But the film made me reflect on a couple of things. First is my love for chicken wings. I'll normally go to Wingstop and get an order of 10 wings, but that means anywhere from 2-5 chickens supplied those 10 little wings. Or how about when you go to the store and buy a 10 pack of chicken thighs? That represents 5 chickens.
Needless to say, I will be stifling my wing cravings and when I go to the store for chicken, I'll be buying a single whole chicken instead and butcher it up into pieces at home.
The same thoughts go with meats. Yes, it costs more, but I'd rather eat an animal that had a happy life up to the last day than one that has been confined in a pen, on concrete, never experiencing fresh air. That means buying from a butcher that gets their meats from such farms.
Finally, while harder to do, I'd rather eat at restaurants where I trust they hold the same values I do. Obviously a drive through the few fast food chains I frequent won't fulfill this goal, but many of Sacramento's restaurants do. A lot of this is thanks to our living in the best farm-to-fork region in the country.
I highly recommend this film and don't be surprised if you don't see it on the roster for next year's Sacramento Food Film Festival.