A farmer friend of Leslie’s raises chickens. She stopped over at the Common Ground produce stand at the Saturday Farmer’s Market and chatted about how she would need help with another group of chickens. I knew before it was explained just what kind of help was needed. The first day I arrived at the farm we had soup with a little left over chicken in it- the chicken being the exchange for Franck’s help. He had assisted in capturing the chickens when they were sleeping, loading them on to the truck, and then delivering them to their destination, their final destination as Leslie said. So as I ate the soup I thought it was good that the chicken had been raised more naturally than at a factory farm, but outside of that I didn’t give it too much thought.
Well, Franck left on a bus to Memphis before the next chicken harvest. So it was down to me, or Josef—a vegan, to be the next assistant. I hoped I wouldn’t be asked directly about it- that I could just not volunteer to do it. Even though I eat chicken, the living chicken seemed much different from the meat on a bun. I thought, well, I could physically lift the chicken fine. And it’s not like I would actually have to butcher it, like my dad talks about doing on his family’s farm and seeing it run around without it’s head. But the idea of the chicken sleeping… I just had an aversion to it. And then I thought, if I can’t help in making the chicken into food, maybe I shouldn’t be eating it. So when Leslie did directly ask me, I had given it enough thought to say, I think I’ll pass. And I guess I’ll just have to remember this feeling the next time I see a tempting sounding chicken dish on a menu.
(Maybe I’m just chicken. An informal survey of a few friends found that they could have in fact helped in this task— not that surprising considering one respondent’s deep love of chicken strips.)