Wash U Hosts American Meat

American Meat posterMissouri was the first stop in the 10-state Young Farmers Screening Series for American Meat, a documentary that looks evenhandedly at both the industrial and the pastoral sides of the U.S. meat system. Bon Appétit at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, kicked off the screening with a grass-fed beef barbecue for 325 attendees, who stayed for a panel discussion and special announcement.

Local supplier and Bon Appétit Farm to Fork partner Rain Crow Ranch provided the beef for the sliders devoured by the curious human herd. The documentary, directed by journalist and documentary filmmaker Graham Meriwether, is unique in that it presents an unbiased view of meat production in our country. Meriwether interviews farmers ranging from conventional hog farmers to the infamous Joel Salatin — an outspoken and controversial figure featured in Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma as well as the films Food, Inc. and Fresh — without making any judgments as to who is doing it better. Meant to inspire young farmers, the film leaves one with the urge to go out, buy a piece of land, and start farming.

Bon Appétit Management Company is proud to be sponsoring Meriwether and his team’s road trip across America to show the film to college and high school students in both rural and urban areas. The film continues screenings at other Bon Appétit schools — including Regis University,Colorado College, Oberlin College, and Case Western Reserve University — throughout 2013.

The post-screening Wash U panel discussion addressed some of the obstacles today’s farmers face, as well as possible ways farming could transform in America to solve those problems. Panelists included Graham Meriwether, conventional cattle farmer Heidi Ridder of Falling Timber Farm, Peter Whisnant of Rain Crow Ranch, campus Executive Chef John Griffiths, and Ray Massey, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Agriculture and Applied Economics at the University of Missouri.

During the evening, then-Director of Marketing and Communications Jill Duncan announced that going forward as part of Bon Appétit’s humane ground beef commitment, all ground beef served at Washington University will be sourced from Rain Crow Ranch. All of Rain Crow Ranch’s beef is grass-fed, organic, and certified as humanely raised by Animal Welfare Approved.And while Graham was in town, he made a short film about the partnership between Rain Crow and Bon Appétit, featuring Chef John and Rain Crow’s Peter. Check it out!

Sustainable Kitchen: Wash U from Leave It Better on Vimeo.