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4 January 2015
Like the Foul Stable
What I Learned on a Family Farm, by Gracia Fay Ellwood

“To many people who care about planet Earth, our family's small-time, ecologically responsible way of raising animals – if it can be made profitable – looks golden, the kind to which our culture should return. It was not, and is not.”
–Gracia Fay Ellwood

Over the holidays, Gracia Fay Ellwood, editor of The Peaceable Table, sent UPC her article about growing up on a family farm in the 1940s and fifties. She links her experience to larger issues of animal farming including its effect on farm children and the role of farmed animals in biblical accounts of the Birth of Jesus.

On December 29, 2014 Gracia Fay Ellwood wrote to UPC:

“I grew up on an old-fashioned family farm, with about eight cows, about 400 ‘laying’ chickens 100 to a large room, and for a few years, about eight geese who roamed free. Because I was a girl, I didn't have to kill an occasional chicken for our dinner; it was harder on my brother, and turned him from a tender-hearted little boy who had liked to carry a chicken around under his coat, to someone who would later engage in hunting and even a trap line. As you know, some environmentalists are talking about going back to those days, but no one in our family would have done so (we got off the farm with a sigh of relief in 1957). It was backbreaking work for us, and slavery for the animals, if a little less hellish than now, and it did not bring out the best in us. If you're interested, I tell the story in a Christmas context in an earlier issue of The Peaceable Table.”

Nativity scene

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