The American system for producing food seems pretty broken at this point. In the October food and drink issue of NY Times Magazine, food writer Mark Bittman said that for people to eat well, live well and be healthy, for agriculture to be sustainable, for life in rural areas and even the way we live in cities to be sustainable, the food system has to change. This summer, I drove out into the dry flat grasslands down five miles of bumpy dirt road in the High Desert of eastern Oregon to go to a party ranchers Doc and Connie Hatfield were having at their house for people interested in the ranching cooperative they founded, Country Natural Beef, that supplies Burgerville, New Seasons, Whole Foods, Higgins Restaurant and the Japanese restaurant company Kyotaru to name a few places. I talked with Doc and Connie and award-winning chef, Greg Higgins, on pioneering new ways of producing local, affordable, sustainable food that also is economically viable for the small producer. The Hatfields’ story of how a cooperative of 100 Northwest ranchers has made it work since 1986 for themselves, for the land, and for the people eating their beef holds out hope for how food is made in this country.
Listen to the podcast here.