Vegetarian meadow or fry’d beef?

Friday, August 10, 2018 5:20PM
To the editor:

At the risk of beating a dead meadow, I respond to David Buren’s July 19 epistolary rotation from the conscientiously curious (July 12 letter) to the full-stop conviction of no Fry’ed Beef, only vegetarian meadow. The romantic contemplation of the bucolic meadow Wordsworth-like is in all of us: “Therefore am I still a lover of the meadows and the woods, and mountains, and all that we behold from this green earth.” Such poetic sentiments rightly affect us all. However, if David Buren, and Mark Fernald expect to traipse blissfully in this meadow stalking the wild asparagus and plucking from the fruited plain while holding hands with Julie Andrews singing “the hills are alive with the sound of ...” it will be the last note to pass their lips.

Sink holes, gullies, years of tractor compacted soils with impoverished flora having no resemblance to the pasture this once was are this meadow’s notable characteristics. Mr. Buren bemoans cattle grazing’s mono culture. Of my more than 10 years of rotational grazing, pastures were neither mono nor cultured but the effervescence of a naturally fertilized long suppressed seed bank: Shattuck Country Club’s mono cultured “Gauntlet” Hole 6 fairways it will never be.

Finally, tractors cause high impact, not the restorative hoofed aeration of rotated cattle. Are we entitled to the gentrification of our pastoral pastured history? If so, in that enactment let us not disabuse our agrarian past and its practice by misunderstanding it, an agrarian heritage relished in Peterborough by Mr. Fry, practiced by the agricultural prophet of our time Joel Salatin, advocated with much humanity by Wendell Berry, and presciently foretold by Aldo Leopold. This heritage educates and builds community, restores the wealth of nature, and does what is right by animal and man.

Peter W. Allen