Back to Beef

Posted on February 16, 2009 by ELCA World Hunger

I just read an interesting report from the Global Policy Forum that makes important connections between food and finance. One little factoid that struck me: more than half of U.S. grain and nearly 40% of world grain is being used to feed livestock. The author of the report cites a 1997 news release from a Cornell ecologist who suggests that the U.S. could feed 800 million people with the grain that livestock eat. Granted, not all the grain that cattle eat is suitable for human consumption (thank you Mark Goetz for pointing that out to me), but again this underscores for me how lowering our own meat consumption could be an effective way to lower food costs and perhaps improve food distribution (to say nothing of the amazing environmental benefits of consuming less meat).

On a related note, Lent is just nine days away (and yes, as you may have already guessed, it is my favorite church season). One way to experiment with consuming less meat would be to practice the ancient and venerable tradition of abstaining from meat on Fridays (and Wednesdays if you wish!) for the six weeks of Lent. Or if you’re adventurous, you could fast from meat for the whole 40 days. I am tempted to do just that, and I would probably succumb to peer pressure if I heard from enough people who would join me…

David Creech