Growing up I would hear my dad, who for the majority of the time only speaks Spanish at home, say this phrase whenever we had red meat at dinner, “no beans, more meat”. I wondered why he would always say that phrase when he did. As I grew older he explained that in Pachuca, Hidalgo Mexico, where he is from, he could not afford to buy meat so he would eat rice, beans, and tortillas for basically every meal. It was when he was working as a construction worker in Chicago in the 90’s, a co-worker of his saw that he was eating rice and beans for his lunch and told him the phase ‘no beans, more meat’. They both grew up in a similar situation and now that they could afford meat my dad was stuck in his ways, and jokingly his co-worker took a jab at him.
In the States up until high school, I never really thought much about the meat I ate or the milk I drank let alone the processes of how they came to be. Going to La Selvatana, a family owned bio dairy farm, was a nice insight into dairy farming. For our last excursion we were introduced to Ana the farmer of La Selvatana. Ana informed us how she changed the way she farmed to keep the local farms alive. Being a bio dairy farm she chooses to not use any pesticides, lets her cows roam freely, and feeds them grass and weeds which is different from some American farms. Ana said a single cow can produce about 70 liters of milk a day. What I found interesting was that cows can only produce milk while pregnant and a little after they give birth. So to make a consistent profit from cows would mean to constantly be breeding them for the majority of their lives. Ana believes that in order for her farm to be a true bio farm, everything must be as natural as possible, meaning shes does not breed her cows right after they give birth. Instead she lets the cow recover with time. Though she might not be making as big as a profit as she would like, this shows a great deal of respect she has towards her animals. Most other family owned farms were either closing down completely or selling out to big cooperation. Ana on the other hand knew she did not want to sell out to a big corporation so instead she gave herself two options to either sell to schools or sell directly to costumer. She choose to sell directly to the consumer in the beginning and as her business expanded she started selling to local schools.
Our second stop was Casa de les Abelles a bee farm located in Sant Pere de Torelló which is ran by Ramone. Ramone told us that he takes his bee’s up to
the Pyrenees Mountain to pollinate and produce different types of honey depending on the types of flowers the bees pollinate. This is interesting to me because he’s not trying to control the environment but instead working with it to produce different types of honey. Ramone just like Ana never thought of teaching children about their work, but as soon as they saw the children take interest in their work they felt in a way responsible to not only feed the community but to also inform. This creates a positive relationship between the community and local businesses to grow and keep the large corporations out. Though large corporations might be good for selling to large populations they do not provide the knowledge and support small business towards the community. Having now experience how treatment and care towards animals should be done, I now have a different outlook on the phrase of ‘no bean, more meat’. Maybe changing the phrase to ‘no beans good meat’ now that I know how the meat was raised.