Generosity as a strategy for survival

| Cooking, Food, Harvesting, Off-Farm goings on, Small Farm Skills, Video | 12 comments | Author :

‘On The Anatomy Of Thrift: Harvest Day‘ is a video by Farmrun and Farmstead Meatsmith about honoring the the pig, the whole pig, and everything inside the pig. This is the next generation of charcuterie, done with respect for the animal and unashamed enthusiasm for the results.

This is also previous generations of charcuterie – the coming together of people to process preserved meat for winter and to eat what cannot be kept very long, employing generosity as a strategy for survival…

This is the sort of thing that makes me excited about future Autumns when we have Milkwood Farm rocking as a small, intensively abundant system that incorporates harvests of all kinds.

All of them done with love and respect, all of them utilizing the whole of the harvest, all of them yielding much goodness.

Check out much more at and … two initiatives reclaiming the right to put farmstead meat back into what might one day be the new normal…

And doesn’t the aesthetics of the above remind you of the Lexicon of Sustainability project?

A note: I’m not really up for (in my view) misplaced animal cruelty discussions in the comments below so please point any awesome and potentially productive energy of that sort elsewhere, ta. A lot of us eat meat. Let’s learn to do it as respectfully and ethically as possible, all the way through the cycle of life.

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  • narf77

    If you are going to produce your own food, this is the way to do it. Thrift is such an important concept and one that is going to start becoming more and more prevelant as the cost of precious resources starts to climb exponentially and we all need to find ways to save and share. Using everything possible from your farmed animals is not only thrifty but terribly important because in doing so, you are honouring the life that you took. Glad to see we have our own Hugh Fearnley Wittingstalls down under! 😉

  • Steve W

    Just discovered the Lexicon of Sustainability via your link. Wow!

    Loved the Anatomy of Thrift video. Quirky, entertaining, beautiful and making such valuable points about stuff which would have been blindingly obvious to our ancestors. Have we spent the last 100 years with our heads up our arses??

  • Cecilia Macaulay (@CeciliaMacaulay)

    I find this post intensely beautiful and difficult.
    Its hard to even gaze at the ‘evicerate’ picture, to see the tender, attentive face of the man, and the poor little trotters strung up like that, silky and ballet-pink, perfect, except for…..Of course, the pig is already gone, but my brain just generates the emotions its always generated.
    This picture gives my brain the challenge of reconciling two things that haven’t usually gone together, the challenge of telling new truths to myself, bravely shrinking the size of the ‘no go’ zone of my thinking, and doing some evolving.

    ‘Ambivilance is a very high state of being’ said Geoff Lawton.

  • WillBarton

    Fantastic to see this wholistic approach to the use of an animal gaining popularity.

    It’s interesting how hunters have been doing this for many, many years (and arguably free range meat, satisfies the issues surrounding animal husbandry – for those who have issues) yet they seem to be forever criticised and it is only now that it has become trendy that these sorts of activities are embraced….

  • Kerrie

    what a beatiful and respectful way to process an animal. So connected to the food and where it comes from. I feel it is an important responsibility to use all of an animal. I have recently ordered a family pack of grass fed beef, and have paid extra to have the heart, liver, kidneys, and soup bones. To be totally honest, I have no idea how to prepare these foods, it will be a big learning experience for me.

    • Cecilia Macaulay (@CeciliaMacaulay)

      One small step for Kerry…
      You are marvellous.

  • dixiebelle

    Great video, thank you.

  • Ian

    Wow, I’m just at the start of my journey to know my food. I’m still a long way from boiling a pigs head, but this video is another pebble in the river and will effect its course like all the others. Oddly its not the “grossness” of it that bothers me, rather the potential flavours of some of the creations that I find most confronting right now. I cave a lot of cultural conditioning to overcome.

    That’s a great quote from Geoff Cacilia :)

  • Virginia Oliver Brown

    we as people have gotten away from this respect of our food, mass production of meat has changed this. I for one am glad that a movement to know our food is happening. This makes way for the thought to exponentially move us back into the right direction. Not all will do this, however, but if we buy conscientiously we will change our mind set and hopefully teach future generations to do the same.

  • rachel rose

    oh my gosh, I couldn’t stop watching. What an extraordinary video… Thank you for posting this

  • seaviewzoo3

    oh thank-you for posting this. So beautiful. I am agonising over whether to post it to our Transition page – why am I afraid of the potential diatribe? Will I sit my kids down to watch? I was fortunate to be raised with the reality of eating from my parents land. Including learning to shoot and clean rabbits, but we never ate “the bits”. I have made it a priority to learn how to cook and eat offal – against every ingrained message in my mind which say’s “gross”. Kerrie – beef heart is perfect minced and used to make bolognaise. I buy chicken livers, bones, necks and hearts weekly from the local free range farm. They always give me double what i order – I assume because few others do, and it does get thrown away.

    • milkwoodkirsten

      It’s interesting that a part of this issue is the fact that it’s not easy to watch some aspects of taking an animal from alive to sausage. While we all need to become more attuned to the mechanics of this, I want to acknowledge that this is hard to watch, and hard to do. But many things in life are hard but necessary, so best to just get on with it in the most respectful way possible.

      In short, if i had the choice between showing Ashar (3) a video of a home butchery and the actual thing, I would choose the actual thing (if he wanted to, i wouldn’t force it obviously) as the visceral experience is far more wholistic and awe-inspiring than a video… but if you’ve only got the video option? I would wait till i was sure he’d take it in a positive context. Just my 2cents.

      Just a note that Ashar has seen multiple rabbits butchered, and it’s great how he is fascinated, wants to stroke them before they are skinned and asks questions about what and why, which are all answered respectfully in the context of the fact that the rabbit(s) are providing food for his family. He watches the processing with the fascination of a young child for any intricate task… and then of course loses interest and asks when will dinner be ready…