The Scoop

Landship Foods is inspired by the conviction that growing and eating healthy food is one of the most important things we can do for both ourselves and the broader communities of which we are a part. The name comes from the language of pre-industrial Europe. Before the enclosure movement and the associated rise in notions of private property swept England, the suffix “-ship” (as in "relationship," or "friendship") referred to an object or an abstraction with collective duties and mutual rights. Thus, the term “landship” suggests that land was an entity through which humans were joined to each other by a set of rights and responsibilities. I advocate for a revival of this awareness.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flip the Birds: "One Hell of an Idea"?

The obviously disinterested and civic-minded Chris Cunningham, president of Wife Saver chicken restaurant, has recently launched what he describes as a "moral" movement to bring Georgia out of its economic woe. The over-worked and underpaid editorial board at Landship Foods is always excited to hear reform ideas from the state's brightest minds, so I was anxious to taste what this successful entrepreneur had fried up.
His idea is as simple as the name he gave the campaign - "Flip the Birds": He proposes removing the brown thrasher (which Cunningham richly claims is "inedible, lazy, and migratory") as Georgia's state bird and replacing it with the Cornish chicken. (Yes, that would be the same breed that Cunningham serves up for a greasy profit in his restaurant chain). According to Cunningham, lots of people have told him this campaign is "one hell of an idea"!
While his questionable claim that "Flip the Birds" is a moral campaign that will reinvigorate the Georgia economy deserves examination and rebuttal, I will leave that for others. I am after bigger game; specifically, the idea that the Cornish chicken is an animal that we would like to promote as a state symbol. As UGA poultry science department head Michael Lacy puts it, "The Cornish chicken is used by poultry geneticists to make the stock that is the modern broiler." The modern broiler, of course, is the chicken raised in those huge, stinking, metal sheds that dot the impoverished Georgia countryside. The modern broiler is the chicken that is so genetically-manipulated for "maximum feed-conversion" and unearthly breast size that it often can't walk, even if it was allowed out of its cage. Among other breeds, I have raised small flocks of Cornish hybrids on pasture. I don't anymore, though. In addition to not being a very tasty breed, Cornish-derived breeds are not good on grass because they are so dependent on pelletized feed. They don't really know how to hunt the insects that crawl, squirm, and worm under their feet. University geneticists and Tyson economists have bred not only the wild but also the animal out of the Cornish. A hyper-engineered, top heavy, dysfunctional animal; sounds like a great state symbol to me. While we're at it, lets add Anna Nicole Smith to the ballot. Now that's "one hell of an idea"!

In addition to getting territorial about my state bird, we have been making some progress out in the vegetable fields recently. Check back soon for photographic evidence...

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