Dear Community Food Co-ops of North America:
Maybe you’ve noticed. Adult-Onset Hunting™ (AOH) is spreading.
In the five months since my initial warning, additional reports have come in. In February, Monica Eng of The Chicago Tribune wrote about her first steps in becoming an “ethical carnivore.” Her symptoms are classic AOH. In April, Yes! magazine sent intern Alyssa Johnson into the field. Then came the news from Palo Alto: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg may be afflicted.
What, you ask, does this have to do with community food co-ops? A lot, I think.
Consider Monica Eng’s words, for instance.
She cares about “sustainable food” and ecology, and isn’t keen on “giant toxic manure lagoons” polluting rivers and streams. She obviously cares about animal welfare, too, since she objects to animals being “crowded” and being forced to eat “unnatural diets.” And she wants to eat healthy food, not meat pumped full of “non-therapeutic antibiotics.”
Compare that with the criteria food co-ops often use in deciding what meat, poultry, and fish to sell:
- It must be wild, or raised in a humane way, ideally in free-range conditions.
- Production must be sustainable and environmentally friendly.
- No hormones or antibiotics can be used.
See what I mean?
So, how about it: Why don’t food co-ops start selling hunting and fishing licenses?
You don’t have to stop there, of course. You could also stock:
- crunchy granola bars for munchy hunters,
- tie-dyes and batiks in camo colors,
- organic lure and cover scents, building on product lines in your incense and aromatherapy sections,
- Birken-Stalk hunting shoes, as soon as the company catches on,
- and, naturally, books on hunting, food, and vegetarians-in-crisis.
I realize this may be a tough row to hoe. A lot of food co-ops started out as strictly vegetarian enterprises. The decision to start selling fish, poultry, and meat has been tough for many co-ops and their members. Believe me, I understand what you’ve been through.
Hunting may seem like alien cultural territory. But consider what one food co-op, just an hour from here, says about how co-ops began: “Early human societies learned to cooperate and work together to maximize their efficiency for hunting, fishing, gathering foods, building shelter, and meeting their individual and collective needs.”
Hmmmm. Hunter-gatherer societies as the original food cooperatives.
If it really is alien cultural territory, all the more reason to go there. I’ve noticed that a lot of food co-op mission statements mention a commitment to “diversity.” And ideological diversity, after all, is the hardest and most important kind to practice.
A Mindful Carnivore (Member, Hunger Mountain Food Co-op)
© 2011 Tovar Cerulli