My evening as a teacher

Last night I had the opportunity to teach a class at Duke. My adviser is teaching a class called "Animals and Ethics" this semester, and she invited me to do a presentation on hog farming in North Carolina. I did a presentation for a class project back in 2004 (I believe) on the topic, and since then I have updated it and changed information to make it more relevant for my masters work. I gave the updated presentation for the first time last summer for a group of Duke students and faculty heading out to visit a local farm, Cane Creek Farm in Mebane. We started out with my presentation, a short clip from Earthlings, and a viewing of The Meatrix. After a tour of the farm, we had a catered BBQ lunch of pork from the farm we visited (I didn't imbibe, but several on the tour did).

Anyway, last night I presented the most recent version of the presentation, along with some of the supplemental information I am using in my paper. The class went really well - there were a lot of questions and some interesting observations. It was also rejuvenating to talk about the topic with people and hear how interested they were to learn more. I needed that - especially since the writing process is getting rather tough. After the class, several students came up and asked for my e-mail address, as they were considering studying the topic further for their end of semester papers.

The last person to talk to me was an undergrad woman who introduced herself and said she had attended the talk I gave last summer. She then told me that after that after that day, she hasn't eaten meat since. WOW! It was a pretty cool feeling. It wasn't just me that got her to that point, but it was pretty cool to hear that in some way, I may have helped someone decide to make the switch to vegetarianism. I'm not out to "recruit" people, but I do like to think that when I talk about this stuff, people will internalize it and at least start to ask more questions and be more conscious about the food world around them. It was an excellently profound moment.

Last night in the class, a student asked me what I want to do to end factory farming - I said that I can't end it - we all have to choose to make that a reality. People need to at least reduce their consumption of meat and when they do purchase it, shop responsibly and don't buy from factory farm providers. If all goes well, maybe a few students in the class heard the message and will shift from Smithfield pork to Cane Creek or Fickle Creek. I can only hope anyway!

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