mgd5 at cornell.edu
mgd5 at cornell.edu
Sun Apr 19 11:41:49 EDT 1998
In Amerindian cultures the debate over meat and vegetables isn't nearly a
meat-and-potatoes dispute. There is a mythology about great
hunting-and-gathering cultures of the Americas, that red meat was a staple
for our diets. Actually, meat was used mostly in ceremony, where large
numbers of people were gathered for the many festivals and gatherings our
People held. Small game, fowl, and fish were the staple non-veg foods.
While corns-beans-squash represent a balanced protein equivalency to meat,
thereby relieving pressure on other species from hunting by human beings,
meat was still an acceptable complement to vegetables. The reasons are
spelled out in the "kanonweratensera", or thanksgiving address which is
used occasionally to remind of us of why all these were given.
In the thanksgiving address we are reminded that all creatures and plants
are part of the living world. Each have a duty implicit in what they are.
As part of this cosmology we are constantly reminded that "All Food Is
Medicine". Thus, animal and plant are healers. To differentiate between
the healing power of animals and plants is to dishonor their power.
Of course, by not killing what you eat, you also dishonor that power.
And now for fish. Fish, in this cosmology, derive from the great force of
the waters. This force is integral to our health as well. The saying goes
like this: "we give thanks to the spirit of the waters, for the life and
power in the waters, which is our life and our power."
All Food is Medicine.
I hear you've set aside this day as Earth Day. So, Happy Mother Earth Day
to you all.
On Sat, 18 Apr 1998, eric + michiko wrote:
> Lee had a good point about separating the vegan diet form the "vegan
> philosophy". It seems clear to me that the vegan diet would not pose a
> problem. I don't see the vegan philosophy a problem either, except if it
> is taken to mean that any use ANY of animal "product" (or by-product) is
> exploitative. It is impossible to separate ourselves from the
> interrelations of plant and animal. It is not possible to have a site
> without animals. Though we have (knowingly) introduced only three species
> (humans and two kinds of fish) to our property, I have counted over 87
> animal species from all orders of the animal kingdom, not including the
> unseen, the micro-fauna and all of the insects and birds that I haven't
> identified yet. The loop is always closed. It all goes back to design and
> efficiency. How will you integrate your actions with the life of the place
> where you live? Is it "exploitative allowing
> Miekal wrote:
> 2 of our 3 perm/terns are vegans & I had to honestly tell them that I
> didnt know of many examples of animal less permaculture, the plants for
> a future project in the uk is the only one I can think of off hand.
> anybody know of any US ones, especially somewhere in the midwest that we
> could visit.
> Lee wrote:
> Hmm. Well I'm sure they exist, but IMO "vegan" and "permaculture" are
> kinda mutually exclusive, with all due respect to PFAF who do tremendous work.
> I don't mean that everybody has to eat meat. That's a diet choice. I
> don't eat it myself in fact. But the vegan philosophy - that is, that any
> use of animal "products" is exploitative - just doesn't fly in the real
> world, in my experience.
> The thing is when you set up a Permaculture site, it has to include animals
> - if not domestic ones, then wild ones. The world has plants and animals
> in it and it needs both. If you decide you're going to be vegan and be
> self sufficient, food-wise, then what happens is if you don't have
> domesticated animals, the wild ones move in and start eating your food. At
> that point you have to do something about it or you will have a wildlife
> population problem in a big way. That's the "problem" with abundance!
> Possibly you could get around this problem if you encourage and are able to
> attract other predators such as cougars or wolves. However I think it's
> kinda folly to say that cougars and wolves are predators and humans are
> not. There has never been a vegan tribal society and there are good
> reasons for that.
> Anyhow what a lot of people will do who don't want to kill animals is to
> fence them out of their gardens. If you're vegetarian and you have to grow
> a lot of grains and legumes to feed yourself, this becomes a problem
> because you've had to fence off, and possibly clear, fairly large
> quantities of land to accomplish this. You could preserve a lot more of
> this land if you were willing to kill a few deer and eat them. The deer
> eat things that you couldn't eat anyhow. And the deer or other wildlife
> are in any case liable to die if they are fenced out of their usual
> territory and cut off from resources that are normally available to them.
> Just ask the Kalahari bushmen whose antelope herds were found piled up dead
> against farmers' fences. You think that because you didn't eat the cow
> that nobody had to die to feed you, but you don't see the thousands
> antelope that died because somebody fenced them off their land in order to
> grow your soyburger.
> There is no way around the problem of having to kill something in order to
> eat. All living things have to do that and if you don't kill when you must,
> you end up killing a lot of things that you never see because you ran from
> that responsibility. I still struggle with this issue myself, but I do
> realize that one can't philosophically defend veganism, especially if you
> are trying to follow the permacultural principles of interrelationships
> between all things. Sooner or later you reach an impasse.
> I certainly won't eat factory farmed meat, which IS exploitative, but to
> compare animals in a permaculture situation to factory farms is just like
> comparing home grown veggies in a PC site to genetically engineered,
> factory farmed soybeans.
> Well anyhow... don't mean to stir up a big argument or anything, just some
> food for thought and an explanation as to why there aren't more vegan
> permaculturists. :-)
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