Sunday, March 27, 2011

Spotted at The Royal Ontario Museum: Eat Grass-fed Beef

We gathered up the kiddos and hitched up our wagon to go on a little adventure into the big city. We hit up the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) and polished the day off with dinner at The Drake. The ROM had an exhibition on water. It was really amazing to see those tubes of water filling up, showing the consumption of usage per household in different countries around the world. I especially liked watching people's reactions when they read about how grains were playing a part in destroying the land. A lot of them were totally taken off guard and looked at each other with bewildered expressions. Huh, tofu isn't saving the planet?

Sorry about the quality, these were all taken with my iPhone. 

A single, grain-fed steer eats more than 2870 lbs of corn, soy and other grains in its lifetime (which is about one, miserable year)! Evidence of a completely broken food system. The steer in my freezer ate 0 lbs of grain. In fact, he feasted on glorious pasture, which builds topsoil and increases viability in mixed ecosystems. And, my steer had a good life and a humane death. I know because I know the farmer that raised him and I've walked the land that he lived on.

I was feeling a little defensive when I got to the farming and agriculture section of the exhibition. I, wrongly, assumed it would be the same old crap about eating a vegetarian diet and laying off beef. In fact, there were displays discussing the environmental destruction of the environment from factory raised beef that suggested, as a sustainable option,  consuming grass-fed beef. I was pretty impressed.

In addition, there were models displaying root structure differences between native prairie grasslands and annual crops like wheat.  It's the native grasslands that offer any promise of maintaining our topsoil, that precious resource that is blowing away with the wind. Those grasses, our quickly depleting resource that is being destroyed by our intensive agriculture practices. Without topsoil, there is no food. If we want to save our environment, putting ruminants back on grasslands would be one helluva' start.

Please ignore the glare from the placard. Poor picture, but too important not to post. On the left, you can see a sidecut of native grasslands, on the right, a swath of wheat. A good demonstration of the grasses ability to reach deep into the soil, nourishing it with beneficial bacteria and holding that topsoil firmly in place. Grains are responsible for soil erosion and the destruction of the fertility in our soil.

The alternative: happy Dexters on beautiful Alberta grasslands.


  1. Great post...Didn't know they had this going on at the ROM. I will have to take the kids to see it.

  2. Tara this is an incredible post. Thank you for sharing. I'd like to share it on twitter if that is ok with you.

  3. Great post. LOVE the photo of the grass roots. Reminds me of a great booth I read about earthworms. There's a whole 'nother world underground that we have little knowledge of.