When Chickens Eat Local
Evan Mulvaney is the kind of person that our world needs more of. When he pulls up at Spoon Full Farm with a big smile and a trailer-load of high-quality chicken feed, our hearts crow like happy roosters, and our chickens flap in excitement. It’s because of Evan that we can take local to the next level.
We humans love eye contact, handshakes, and hugs. Real contact grows trust and lends our lives meaning. So it makes intuitive sense, to us, that it’s good (less waste, less pollution, more prosperity) to buy from local companies. Such purchases pay off, for us all. But buying from locally-owned businesses only guarantees a surface-level local-ness — we still don’t know how far the local production chain goes.
Truly local producers buy from local companies that buy from local companies. (Which buy from local companies… and so on and on…) When products are all local like this, we can trace our food all the way back through its various forms, from product to plant to microbe. Then we can understand the processes of production, and we can know our place in the concentric circles of our communities. Then we can understand ourselves.
Let’s start, like most nice days do, with breakfast. Crack a Spoon Full Farm pasture-raised egg onto a pan: yellow-orange yolk glows bright atop a firm, protein-packed white. Sizzling sound, savory smell, and special knowledge: These eggs frying on our pans came from local chickens, fed with local grain, which grew due to the miraculous collaboration of local soil, water, and sunshine. And the diligent work of Evan Mulvaney.
We learned about Evan’s grain production when his partner Lucia organized the Washington Young Farmers Coalition mixer here at Spoon Full, back in October. He grows grains and legumes to feed his hogs, and produces a surplus big enough, it turns out, to feed our whole flock of laying hens. With an eager glint in his eye, Evan can talk about barley, peas, and a tricky amino acid called methionine, for hours on end. This passion is a wonder to behold. And it’s a wonder in its economic effects.
In our country, most eggs come from chickens that live in minuscule battery cages in Delaware or Carolina, overfed with GMO corn and soy grown in Iowa or Illinois. This disjointed production system involves chicken torture and water pollution, and results in something your great-grandparents could barely recognize as an “egg.” It also takes power out of the hands of farmers: their revenues and choices are determined by huge, impersonal agribusiness interests. That system simply can’t sustain itself.
Which is one reason why we need more folks like Evan: local grain and feed production, in partnership with local poultry people, in partnership with good folks like you, gradually grows a smaller, leaner, happier system that produces healthier, more beautiful and delicious eggs for your breakfast. That’s a system that’s local all the way to the source.
Can you look your chicken in the eye?
Order Spoon Full eggs for delivery, here.