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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

VPR Cafe: Food Ethics

Illustration by Michael Tonn
Food For Thought

Suzanne Podhaizer, a food writer for Seven Days, recently had a picnic with two UVM professors. The two have authored a new book on food ethics. And Podhaizer found herself facing a butter dilemma.

She brought two kinds of butter to the picnic. One pound of butter was made from milk gathered at a local co-op, the other from a tiny herd on a small family farm. Both butters are pricey, but the question is: Which is more ethical?

This conundrum over butter plays directly into the hand of the food ethics subject and Podhaizer says both the subject and the answer are complicated.

She says a lot of decisions about the food we choose to eat stem from what you believe and don't believe. Are you more concerned with whether it is even appropriate to raise animals for food in the first place? Are more concerned about the health of the environment? How do you feel about the way we farm or how workers are treated?

And then, of course, there is the question: Can you afford to buy the food that is in line with what you believe?

You can read more about food ethics in Podhaizer's articles in Seven Days, Ethicists Consider the Right and Wrongs of The Food System, or take the quiz How Much Do You Know About Food Ethics?

The VPR Café is made possible by Kimball Brook Farm, organic milk and cream from Vermont grass-grazed cows and by City Market, Burlington, a food co-op offering classes, food demos and local products to taste and explore.

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