Lierre Keith discusses her new book. This event is free.
Added to the calendar on Tuesday May 26th, 2009 11:06 AM
We’ve been told that a vegetarian diet can feed the hungry, honor the animals, protect our health, and save the planet. Author Lierre Keith believed in that plant-based diet and spent twenty years as a vegan. But in "The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability" (PM Press, May 2009) she argues that we’ve been led astray--not by our longings for a just and sustainable world, but by our ignorance.
The truth is that agriculture is a relentless assault against the planet, and more of the same won’t save us. In service to annual grains, humans have devastated prairies and forests, driven countless species extinct, altered the climate, and destroyed the topsoil--the basis of life itself.
According to Keith, the question we need to ask is way bigger than what’s dead on your plate--it’s what died to get that meal there. For agricultural foods, the answer is whole continents. “Agriculture is carnivorous,” Keith writes. “What it eats is entire ecosystems, and it swallows them whole.” Keith argues that if we are to save this planet, our food must be an act of profound and abiding repair: it must come from inside living communities, not be imposed across them.
"The Vegetarian Myth" is also a cautionary tale. Keith persisted with a vegan diet even after it permanently damaged her body. She explores the psychology of vegetarian identity while still remaining true to the values that informed her veganism.