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Kale vs. Cow: The Case for Better Meat

ABOUT THE PROJECT

Thanks to overwhelming support, we have already raised over $225,000! We have covered our initial legal and development expenses, and are now in phase one of film production. This is still just a small portion of what we’ll need to produce the whole film. Once we complete our budget, we’ll finish filming, then move into post-production, marketing, and distribution of the film to get it out to the public. If you’d like to learn about contributing to the film on a more significant level, please contact Diana directly.

PROJECT OVERVIEW

At a time when many in the health and environmental fields call for a world without meat, Kale vs. Cow makes the case for better meat—and shows how eliminating animals from our food system could cause more harm than good.

At our grocery stores and dinner tables, even the most thoughtful consumers are overwhelmed by the number of considerations to weigh when choosing what to eat— especially when it comes to meat. Guided by the noble principle of least harm, many responsible citizens resolve the ethical, environmental, and nutritional conundrums by quitting meat entirely.

But can a healthy, sustainable and conscientious food system exist without animals?

Kale vs. Cow probes the fundamental moral, environmental, and nutritional quandaries we face in raising and eating animals. In the film, we focus our lens on the largest and perhaps most maligned of farmed animals, the cow. 

WHY ME?

For the past 15 years, I’ve lived on a working organic farm raising vegetables and pasture-based animals. Because I realized the solution to my Celiac Disease and blood sugar roller coaster was to eat an ancestral-type diet back in 2010, I decided to change my career in order to help others through diet and lifestyle change. Today, I’m a Registered Dietitian with a busy clinical practice with two best selling books, but I want to do more… something BIG!

Through my writing and podcast, Sustainable Dish, I’ve been exploring the intersection of the foods we eat and how they’re produced.  I’ve interviewed experts in sustainability like Joel Salatin and Judith Schwartz, plus bestselling authors like Robb Wolf, Mark Sisson, and Gretchen Rubin. I’ve spoken internationally about nutrition and sustainable food systems. I helped to produce a short film, Soft Slaughter, which won a Real Food Media award. I serve on the board of Animal Welfare Approved, and deeply care about best practices in the humane handling of the animals we eat.

I’ve teamed up with Myna Joseph, an independent filmmaker whose family started Maple Hill Creamery, a 100% grass-fed, organic dairy company.  Her previous film pursuits on the subject of food culture include “Pressure Cooker,” an Emmy-nominated documentary released by Participant Media. Myna is fully engaged with the nutritional, environmental and ethical questions at the heart of this story.  Her depth of exposure to this subject matter makes her the perfect director for the project.

WHY NOW?

As a practitioner, I’ve seen many people give up meat, thinking this is the best choice for their health and for the planet, only to see their health decline. But contrary to popular assumptions, well-managed cattle are one of our best chances at improving soil health and sequestering carbon. Red meat is also a superfood, rich in high-quality protein, vitamins, and minerals. And while eliminating animals from our food system may seem like the most ethical choice, from a “least harm” perspective, eating large ruminants, like grass-fed beef, may actually cause fewer total animal deaths than a diet focusing only on plants.

WHAT’S THE APPROACH?

It’s difficult to sway people’s worldview with merely facts, statistics, and logic. Rather than relying on the journalistic “talking heads” style typical of many food-centric, issue-driven documentaries, this film will employ a cinematic storytelling approach. We’ll focus on  the emotional stories of a select few whose lives are directly tied to the consumer/producer interface surrounding the meat we eat. With stunning imagery, carefully observed detail and intimate interviews, we’ll explore the stories of compelling food innovators, producers, and thinkers.

We will not be highlighting companies or specific dietary or management dogmas. 

We’re looking to break out of the paleo eco-sphere to spread the word about the benefits of better meat. We’ll illustrate how processed foods that encourage us to overeat are the real enemy to our health. Meat is NOT the enemy. Regenerative farming is good for the soil, and when compared to cropping, actually causes “least harm” to animal life. 

WHAT’S THE CALL TO ACTION?

The main message of the film project is that well-raised red meat is wrongfully vilified as unhealthy, unsustainable and unethical and that those who are looking to cause “least harm” don’t necessarily need to avoid meat. 

Let’s face it, it’s unrealistic to think that the world will stop eating meat tomorrow, so even though some people don’t want to consume meat for personal reasons (which is a completely respectable personal choice) it’s still important that the meat others eat is raised well. Let’s all build a bridge towards a more conscientious, nutritious and sustainable food system.

Viewers will be directed to a website with tools they can learn to make better food choices, fix the system (take-action), connect (with better meat producers), and donate to organizations that support real food nutrition, animal welfare and educate about regenerative farming techniques. Additionally, a portion of the film’s proceeds will go to these nonprofits.

WHO WILL BE IN IT? 

We’re still working out the cast of characters to tell the most impactful and effective story. We aim to feature a small handful of health, environmental and ethics experts. 

Nina Teicholz, Chris Masterjohn, Nicolette Hahn Niman, Dr. Rangan Chattergee, Robb Wolf, Dr. Frank Lipman, Seamus Mullen, Joel Salatin, Will Harris, Lierre Keith and JP Sears are among those who have agreed to support and/or participate in the film. Other early supporters include Gary Taubes, Dr. David Perlmutter, Melissa Hartwig, Michelle Tam, Mark Sisson, Chris Kresser, and John Durant.

We even have confirmed interviews with non-meat eaters who are helping fight for better meat! 

THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO HAVE GIVEN OVER $500!

Steven Soares, Gilbert Rodgers, Robert Stevens, Randy Hartnell (Vital Choice Seafood), Tara Buckland, Jennifer Calihan, Michelle Tam (Nom Nom Paleo), Otto’s Cassava Flour, Kelly Hopper, Jacqueline Dagenais, Dominique Howard, Jami Pierce, Stacia Dawson, Amy McLain, Lierre Keith, Jan Ellison Baszucki, Heather Juergensen, Michael Bean, Matthew Hanehy, Ashley Tilley, Tribali Foods, Chris Kresser, Robb Wolf, Tonie Fagnan, Kristin Canty, Michael Geary (Paleo Hacks), Jamie Scott (The Ancestral Health Society of New Zealand), Melissa Hartwig (Whole30), Chas Smith (PaleoValley), EPIC Provisions, ButcherBox, US Wellness Meats, Antony & Emily Bartlett (Real Plans), Jacob Cantele, Thrive Market, Central Grazing Company, Dole & Bailey, Red House Ranch, Paleo f(x), Sarah Ballantyne, Ph.D./The Paleo Mom, The Good Kitchen, Simone Miller/Zenbelly, Farrier Leather, Belcampo Meat and a very special thanks to the team at Clovis Culture for their generous donation of $50,000!

NONPROFIT PARTNERS

Food Tank, Holistic Management International, Savory Institute, Animal Welfare Approved, Weston A. Price Foundation, Healthy Fats Coalition, Soil 4 Climate, GrassFed Exchange, Nutritional Therapy Association and Les Dames d’Escoffier New England

EXTRA SPECIAL SUPPORT & LOVE WITH PODCASTS, ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND BEYOND

Dr. Emily Deans, Dr. Drew Ramsey, Steph Gaudreau, Ben Greenfield, Mark Sisson, Liz Wolfe, Dr. David Perlmutter, Gary Taubes, Dr. Amy Myers, Stacy Toth, John Durant, Sean Lenihan/The Honest Bison, Bobby Gil, Chris Kerston, Caroline Grindrod, Abbey Smith, Joel Salatin, Nina Teicholz, Chris Kresser, Nicolette Hahn Niman, Lucy Hendricks, Charles & Julie Mayfield, Russ Conser, Rachel James, Stefhan Gordon, Primal Pastures/Pasture Bird, Paleo Magazine, Emily Schromm, Tommy Wood/Nourish Balance Thrive, Georgia Lienemann/Stirring Change, Brisbane Paleo, Farmageddon the Film, Weston A. Price, Fleisher’s Craft Butchery, Lady Farmer, Dr. Amy Meyers, Jenny McGruther, Mickey & Angie/ Autoimmune Paleo, Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund, Phoenix Helix, David’s Pasture, Melissa Joulwan and Ethical Omnivore Consumer/Producer Alliance

The film has also attracted some great early media attention! Here are a few of my favorite interviews/blog posts and podcasts:

Kale vs Cow (interview with Liz Wolfe on the Balanced Bites Podcast)

Kale vs Cow: The Cast for Better Meat (Podcast on Nourish Balance Thrive)

In Kale vs. Cow, Filmmaker Explores the Importance of Better Meat, FoodTank

Why I Give a Sh*t About Sustainability, Robbwolf.com

Diana Rodgers – Eating Meat and Sustainability, The Paleo Solution Podcast

‘Kale vs. Cow’ documentary makes a case for meat, Meat & Poultry 

Interview with Diana Rodgers, The Paleo View Podcast

Facebook Live Interview with Michelle Norris of Paleo f(x)

Kale vs. Cow feature on Epic Provisions blog

The Story Behind Kale vs. Cow: Wise Traditions Podcast

 

Associated Members

Diana Rodgers, Producer

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