On Chickens and Eggs

chicken2In his introduction to Wendell Berry’s recent book, Bringing it to the Table, Michael Pollan observes that one of Berry’s favorite quotes comes from British agronomist, Sir Albert Howard. He urges us to think of “the whole problem of health in soil, plant, animal and man as one great subject” (p. xi). In a world in which we’ve become ever more disconnected from the production of food, and thus unaware of where or how it is raised, Howard’s statement comes crashing home when we reflect on the recent Salmonella outbreak linked to chicken eggs.

The more than 500 million eggs that have been recalled since mid-August come from two large egg producers (producing nearly 6 million eggs per day). FDA Investigators found contaminated water, contaminated feed, manure piled 4-8 feet high until it burst the seems of the buildings, and rodents running through the chicken houses. In addition, investigators “found dead maggots and live flies that crunched under foot.” Apparently a spokesman for one of the farms indicated that they’ve addressed the concerns as soon as they were identified by the FDA. These issues required trained investigators to uncover them?

Sir Albert Howard’s statement (and all of Berry’s writings that develop it) is another way of saying that everything is linked together. When we consume food we consume the earth itself. We are made form the earth and consume the earth when we eat. Healthy soil/environment gives rise to healthy plants to healthy animals to healthy humans. So what might we do about reconnecting the dots? To see what one family is doing, check out my colleague Jeff Kloha’s thoughts, “Together with All Chickens” at concordiatheology.org

2 Responses to “On Chickens and Eggs”

  1. Concordia Theology » More on Chickens Says:

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  2. Ara Puhl Says:

    Visit Ara Puhl

    obviously I’m sure I’m not the only person to feel this way.

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