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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Meatrix

As a housewife everyone knows I have a lot of time on my hands. I think I spend at least 2-3 hours on front of the computer per day, Deme jokes soon I will find a webpage that reads “You have reached the end of the Internet!” This I sincerely doubt. I find myself on strange websites, informative ones, blogs and all the fluff in between.

About 2 weeks ago I found myself on a website that showed how ducks and geese were raised for foie gras. Today I found a site called The Meatrix that is a spoof on The Matrix but describes the plight of family farms vs. factory farms. This is an animated film, tame but to the point. I'll let you search for the more gruesome ones. At the end of the short movie, you can enter your U.S. zip code and locate a grocery store or restaurant that buys meat and produce from family farms. They listed Whole Foods and the various Co-Ops that I used to belong to, as non-factory farm alternatives. I had no problem paying 21.99/lb of USDA dry-aged beef from Whole Foods.

I wonder if I could find such a thing here in Italy. I wonder if Italians know or care where their meat/poultry comes from. Everyone thinks that Italy is a food haven, which it is, with fresh market foods available daily. Italy however is also home of some of the largest supermarkets I have ever stepped foot into. I also found out recently that the Netherlands is the largest EU importer of meat. I think of bulbs, dikes, windmills, clogs etc… Who knew? I wish I could type in Torino somewhere and be transported to a site that tells me names of the butchers that buy their meat from family farms. I hear from other Italians that some farmers here are fond of chemistry and market food may or may not be organic. I loved the farmers markets in Seattle where most of the produce was certified organic.

Growing up a sustenance farm, I had my own chicken named Henny Penny. She was my pet, a tame chicken that I could hold and hand feed. We never killed her, I made my mom promise. She died of old age when I was in high school. I think she was about 10 years old. While I was watching the animal videos, I thought of her.


At 6:08 PM, Blogger Sara said...

Sites of interest below. I wasn't able to find a listing of family farms in Turin, as I suspect those pages would be in Italian. However, I did find something interesting.

There was an international "Slow Food" summit held in Turin, Italy August of last year. If investigate futher where you are, you would be able to turn up something.


At 11:18 PM, Blogger expats in italy said...

Tell Dem that you found it http://thelastpage.org/

At 1:13 AM, Blogger Gia-Gina said...

When I saw that last page, I had a mild anxiety attack. What would I do without news and information, 24/7.

At 3:34 AM, Blogger hobbes said...

Great blog. I've been drooling over your earlier banana bread post. Might try to bake it this w/e.

Thanks for visiting my very small island.

At 3:34 AM, Blogger hobbes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I'll check out The Meatrix for info on grocery stores or restaurants that buy meat and produce from family farms. I'd like to know about that.


At 1:07 PM, Blogger melusina said...

That was one big change I had to make when I moved to Greece, a lack of organic foods. When Nashville got a Wild Oats I became addicted to all things organic. When I moved to Greece, I was out of luck. I figure someday it will make its way through Europe.

Have been "catching up" on your archives, really enjoying your stories, Gia. I love reading fellow ex-pat blogs, it is really nice knowing there are others experiencing some of the same ups and downs as I do.

At 5:13 AM, Blogger dario said...

Gina. In any town i visited in Italy i found several shops that sell certified "biologico" stuffs (even if, usually, they cost more than the non-certified ones). Our favorite supermercato in Lecco has a big section of "biologico" food. In the book shops there are books which list shops and restaurants where they sell "biologico" food. Slow Food Editore publish guides with only "biologico" suggestions (and also "eco-sostenibili").
I know that laws for italian "biologico" certification is more strict than american "organic". And also, speaking about non-certified foods, the laws for producing and selling food are more strict in italy. Infact in Italy it is not allowed to grow OGM products and only imported food containing less than 4% OGM can be sold in the shops, and also in those cases the OGM amount must be written on the label. In the US they are growing OGM, they are selling them without the need to advise on the label, which makes the efforts for organic farms almost useless: what if an organic farm gives OGM food to a cow? How can the farmer know that the cow food they buy is itself organic if it is not written on the label? How can an american organic farmer know that the bees that bring the pollen to his products was not cought on the neighbor farm, which maybe grow OGM products? What if the grass to feed the cows was grown on fields manured with stuff made by other cows which ate OGM grass?

Yeah, but you are right. As far as i know there is no database on the Internet which list italian organic shops...


At 7:59 AM, Anonymous rowena said...

HENNY PENNY?! My you are full of interesting surprises! I asked dario if we could raise chickens---sorry no can do. Anyway, the dog would probably kill it anyway.

This morning I took a look at the beef that I had bought 5 days ago (it stated that it was from Germania). Was supposed to make beef broccoli but it had already gone bad! I thought beef is suppose to age a bit... maybe it had no chemmies. Could've been organic though!


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