Grass-Fed Beef

[by Naveen]

Last weekend was an interesting juxtaposition of food-themed events: the agricultural sustainability sessions at the Union of Concerned Scientists 40th Annual Symposium and the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. One of the highlights of the UCS meeting was the panel discussion featuring Bill Kurtis from Tall Grass Beef, who gave a compelling argument about how eating grass-fed beef is far superior to the current corn-fed product. Although the vegans in the Boston Vegetarian Society would likely disapprove of any sort of meat consumption, a recent article in the New York Times proclaimed the benefits of grass-fed beef. Large tracts in Brazil are being cleared for monoculture soy production that could end up in all sorts of vegan-friendly products, whereas pastures in this country could reduce soil erosion, increase biodiversity, and potentially sequester carbon dioxide. However, if the industrial meat production model in this country shifted to grass-fed beef, consumers would need to shift from viewing a burger as a convenient meal at a fast-food restaurant to an occasional delicacy to be enjoyed at a place like Craigie on Main. As a vegetarian who has never been to a ranch, I feel rather disqualified to offer any type of policy recommendation, but I would certainly be interested to learn more.

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