We invite you to come listen to butcher and teacher Adam Danforth, chef and writer Deborah Madison, and rancher and processor Mike Callicrate discuss how we eat, think, and talk about meat.

In a world full of mixed-message marketing about the impacts of meat production, making choices about eating healthy and sustainably-raised meat can feel complicated. The conversation about meat in the media continues to be polarized. Ranchers are either heralded as grassland champions for sequestering carbon or as part of a high emissions, environment destroying industry. Is beef a superfood or does it increase your risk of a heart attack? 

Both producers and consumers experience the frustrations of byzantine meat systems, but often feel powerless to change them. After decades of a slow-growing disconnect from our food sources, we’re looking for ways to know the cycle of our sustenance before it ends up on our plates and to feel empowered in our food choices. But how many of us know the complete journey of a burger or a steak? Or why grass-fed beef costs so much more than conventional beef? Or what questions should we be asking at the meat counter to understand where the meat we’re feeding our families came from and how it was treated? Likewise, how can ranchers, meat processors, and consumers impact the systems that produce our meat in ways that benefit people, planet, and profits?

Our panelists will discuss why changing the systems of meat production — from pasture to plate — is complicated. They will explore the economics of meat production, human and animal health, culinary trends, the psychology of eating meat, and more. They will also share some of the projects they are personally involved in that are helping ranchers and consumers make better sense and better business of meat — for personal health, for the businesses of the ranchers and processors, and for the health of the land.



Adam Danforth

is the James Beard and IACP award-winning author of two books, published by Storey Publishing, about slaughtering and butchering livestock. He teaches workshops worldwide on butchery and meat science for venues such as Stone Barns Center for Agriculture, the James Beard Foundation Chefs Boot Camp, Oregon State University, and the National Bison Association. Adam also consults and provides experiential education to restaurants including Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Bazaar Meat, and Maude. He is the American ambassador for the Butchers Manifesto and a board member of the Chefs Collaborative and The Meat Collective. Adam lives in Ashland, OR.

Deborah Madison

is the founding chef of Greens Restaurant in San Francisco and, with David Tanis, of Cafe Escalera in Santa Fe.  She is the author of 14 books and many articles focused on food and farming. A long time member of both SWGLA and the Quivira Coalition, Deborah has long recognized the need for both groups to be a vocal part of our food culture. Although often thought of as a vegetarian because of the scope of her cookbooks, Deborah is in fact a rather open minded eater and is aware that agricultural practices need to change if it is not to be regarded as the biggest contributor to climate change—and our overall poor health.

Mike Callicrate

is a farmer-rancher, business entrepreneur and family farm advocate. Widely sought for his expertise on the negative consequences of industrial meat production, he served as an advisor for the films Food Inc. and FRESH and for several best-selling books including Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. A native of Evergreen, Colorado, he began his career by earning a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Colorado State University in 1975. After college, he started farming and ranching at St. Francis in the northwest corner of Kansas. In 2000, he formed Ranch Foods Direct, a branded beef company based in Colorado Springs. His fabrication plant processes high quality meats, and his retail store sells those products along with many other seasonal and handcrafted items from the surrounding area. His company also operates a regional food hub, helping to aggregate and distribute locally produced food. In recent years, he transitioned his cattle-feeding facility in Northwest Kansas into a multi-species regenerative agricultural operation that raises hogs and egg chickens as well as cattle.  The animals are harvested on-site using an on-farm slaughter facility designed to reduce stress and improve meat quality.

You can learn more about his business enterprises by visiting MikeCallicrate.com.