Healthy Eating

Weddings in a Barn. Cows at the Table.

Farm to table eating means more than you think, every day and on special occasions. Let’s dig in. #foodwaste #JuneDairyMonth #Wedding

Saving the earth, eating good food and loving farms. If any or all of these are your jam, you’re going to want to read this. It’s wedding season and dairy month. Barn weddings are now a thing. Time for a mashup, and I don’t just mean a rural wedding.

What if I told you people and animals actually make excellent dinner companions? Yes, both from a nutrition and a wasted food management standpoint. Here’s where the dairy month part comes in, because we’re going to talk about cows. From the amazing cheese platter served at the reception to the deliciously creamy ice cream scooped alongside that wedding cake (and more), they are one of our best dinner companions. It’s actually pretty simple and yet so important: There are parts of plants that we (literally) can’t eat that animals can (and want/need to for nutrition).

dairy cow
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
beer cheers
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

If you have an open bar (or cash only) and beer is an option, while the guests are raising a cheer with a beer, there are cows somewhere happily getting nutrition, including protein, from the spent grains that were used to make the beer. #drinkresponsibly

yellow corn stalk
Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Let’s also consider corn. We (only) eat the kernels. Cows can eat the whole plant because their stomachs basically unlock nutrition in parts of foods that our human bodies can’t. Corn is actually a grass. Yep. Seems weird, I know, but it is what it is. Kind of brings additional context to cows eating grass, doesn’t it? It’s almost always not just one thing that we can focus on or learn about. Food and agriculture is complex. Words and food history are SO FUN!!!!!!

The point here is, animals eat and benefit nutritionally from the parts of plants we can’t or won’t eat (hello, leftover grains from beer-making – would you eat that?). This means that without animals as our dinner companions, food waste could be an even bigger issue, as things we can’t/won’t eat would be in a landfill contributing to greenhouse gases. #thinkaboutit Thank you, cows (and other animals who eat stuff for nutrition that we humans can’t), for being at the table with us even when we don’t see you.

Congratulations to every couple who has decided to take the plunge and get married.

Wishing you every happiness!

The synergy in agriculture across the globe and in each state between people, plants, and animals is amazing. Take some time to improve your agriculture literacy so you feel informed about your personal food choices.

farm field clouds
Picture of a field I took on a farm trip

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.