Chef Dan Barber: Killing your own food is an incontestably moral act
June 2nd, 2011
09:30 AM ET
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Last month, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the 847 friends on his private Facebook page that he had "just killed a pig and a goat" - to eat.

Horrifying? Why? asks Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of the farm-to-table restaurant Blue Hill in New York City and Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, New York. That Zuckerberg, the 27-year-old Internet billionaire, has made killing any meat he eats this year's personal goal is "an incontestably moral act," Barber says. He's slaughtered animals for meat himself. "I do think it's important for anyone who wants to be conscious of their food and where it comes from," he says.

Barber is a proponent of locavorism, the practice of seeking out locally produced food. In 2006, he received the James Beard award for best chef: NYC. In 2009 he was named James Beard's outstanding chef, and Time Magazine featured him in its "Time 100."

He talked with's Pat Wiedenkeller about Zuckerberg's personal-best quest, why locavorism isn't just for the elite, and how much better meat tastes when you've killed it yourself.

CNN: Mark Zuckerberg wants to eat only meat he's killed himself. Good for him, but how is that supposed to work for the 99.8 percent of us who aren't Internet billionaires? How is sustainable locavorism supposed to work on a large scale?

Dan Barber: Eccentric? Sure. But it's certainly not elitist. You don't have to be an Internet billionaire to kill what you eat (as many of the world's peasant cuisines illustrate). The problem isn't the expense; it's the inconvenience. I'm not suggesting that the future of locavorism will look like a world of hunter gatherers - and it won't be all farmers' markets either.

For this movement to work, we have to establish a system of well-coordinated regional "foodsheds" (networks that encompass farms, markets and consumers), each suited to what it can best grow. That means more farmers, but also more local distribution and processing centers, reviving the regional infrastructure that's disappeared over the last 50 years. Call it regionavore - the next step in the locavore movement.

Read Zuckerberg kills what he eats. Should you? on CNN Opinion

Previously - Why would a billionaire slaughter his supper?

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Filed under: Celebrity Chefs • Chefs with Issues • Dan Barber • Food Politics • Hunting • Local Food • Sustainability • Think

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Edwin

    I know WAY too many people who perfer to think that meat comes from the store, period. They don't like to think about the fact that their meat came from an animal that at one point was a living, breathing life.

    While I'm not a hunter myself (but I do fish!), I have nothing but respect for those who are.

    July 25, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

      My Dad knew a guy in the Army that thought popcorn was made in factories.

      July 25, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
  2. Roger Dickens

    Whether you are familiar with Mark Zuckerberg depends to a considerable extent on your age and Internet savvy. The greater the one, the less the other, the more this soon to be iconic name will be unknown… and that, of course, means you’re the oldest of fogies… and must instantly make amends. I intend to make that very easy for you.Zuckerberg was born on May 14, 1984 in a “Leave It to Beaver” town with the quintessential name of Dobbs Ferry, New York. His life consisted of the very best and most appealing of what suburban life in the Great Republic offers; his father a dentist, his mother (before the birth of her four children), a psychiatrist. His was a loving, close-knit family that valued the most important thing of all: education, and made sure Mark got the best.'

    Please do check into our web blog

    February 5, 2013 at 12:12 am |
  3. OlyS

    Blue Hill: Overpriced, precious, self-important food.

    August 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
  4. Sara

    Killing your own meat is much more respectable than going to the local grocery and picking up a steak. At least the animal had a chance to live its life freely and not crammed nose to @ss with hundreds of other miserable creatures. Factory farming is a disgusting, disease and cruelty ridden industry.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  5. Ermintrude

    Unless the goal is to actually get blood on your hands, adopting Mr. Zuckerburg's goal isn't all that difficult or even inconvenient. Purchasing directly from a farmer goes a long way to reaching this goal, and pre-ordering (depending how far in advance of slaughter) arguably gets you there. For those out there without a farmer in the family, you can enjoy the same benefits by surfing Home Grown Cow, selecting a farmer who raises what you're after, order or better yet, pre-order, and have the slaughtered and packaged animal shipped straight to your door. Not as gory as Mr. Zuckerburg, but just as rewarding – for you and the farmer!

    June 2, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  6. Truth

    Been doing this for years. I call it "hunting" and "fishing".

    June 2, 2011 at 9:34 am |
    • Amayda@Truth 'True'!

      June 2, 2011 at 11:42 am |
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