Edible Education 103: The Politics and Economics of Meat by Mike Callicrate and Bob Martin with Michael Pollan at UC Berkeley

Published October 19, 2012 | Updated October 22, 2012


MIKE CALLICRATE is an independent cattle producer, business entrepreneur, and political activist. He serves as an outspoken leader in addressing the rural, social, and cultural impacts of current economic trends. He consulted on several best-selling books, including Fast Food Nation and Omnivore’s Dilemma, as well as the highly regarded films Food Inc. and Fresh. Since the mid-1990s, Callicrate has been actively involved in social and political efforts to improve the welfare of family farmers and to restore effective publicly-regulated markets, including participating as a plaintiff in two class action lawsuits against the big-four meat packers for anticompetitive practices. He is a founding member of several farm advocacy groups, including the Organization for Competitive Markets, R-CALF, and the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association. In recognition of his efforts, he has received the “Westerner of the Year” award from Western Ranchers Beef Cooperative; the first ever Legacy Award from the Kansas Cattlemen’s Association; and the Carl L. King Distinguished Service Award from the American Corn Growers Association. In 2000, he formed Ranch Foods Direct, a value-added meat company, which markets his high quality, all-natural Callicrate Beef and other locally produced meats along the Front Range of Colorado and over the internet at www.ranchfoodsdirect.com. The Ranch Foods Direct system of beef production includes several humane handling innovations, including mobile meat processing, which allows animals to be processed at the ranch and eliminates the stress of long-distance hauling. Earlier this year, he was named to the Colorado Agriculture Council for the Humane Society of the U.S.

BOB MARTIN is the senior policy advisor for the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and a senior lecturer in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. For the past seven years, Martin has focused on issues affecting food system policy, including leading a special commission on how industrial food animal production impacts public health, the environment, rural communities, and animal welfare. Martin was previously a senior officer of the Pew Environment Group, a division of The Pew Charitable Trusts, where he advised issue campaigns aimed at eliminating the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in industrial food animal production and increasing Environmental Protection Agency oversight of industrial food animal production waste. Before joining Pew, Martin served in management positions in the offices of two U.S. senators and a congressman. From 1999 through 2005, he served in the office of U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), first as Communications Director, then Deputy Chief of Staff, and lastly as Sen. Johnson’s Special Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. As Deputy Chief of Staff, he was a member of a senior staff management team that was responsible for the Washington, D.C. Senate office and three state constituent service offices.

Edible Education is a lecture course at UC Berkeley, funded by the Edible Schoolyard Project www.edibleschoolyard.org and the Epstein Roth Family Foundation. Instructor Michael Pollan.

Edible Education 103: Telling Stories About Food and Agriculture is a Fall 2012 course at UC Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism and College of Letters and Science. The course is moderated by Michael Pollan, a Knight Journalism Professor at UC Berkeley.

As the costs of our industrialized food system—to the environment, public health, farmers and food workers, and to our social life—become impossible to ignore, a national debate over the future of food and farming has begun. Telling stories about where food comes from, how it is produced—and how it might be produced differently—plays a critical role in bringing attention to the issue and shifting politics. Each week, a prominent figure in the debate explores: What can be done to make the food system healthier, more equitable, more sustainable? What is the role of storytelling in the process?

Please visit the The Edible Schoolyard Project

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