Natalie greeted me with warmth, and welcomed me to her outdoor classroom, where students from all walks of life gather for weekend intensives on organic gardening, permaculture design, natural building, wild-food identification, hide tanning, and butchery. “In order to reconnect with the earth,” she told me, “we have to understanding where our food comes from, and we have to build and support a local food system.”
In a grocery-story dependent culture, most people rarely see where their food is grown, and never see the factory settings that mass produce the vast majority of meat, milk and eggs sold on the market. Humans used to be intimately tied to their food system, and animals were raised and slaughtered on family homesteads. In exchange for care, food, shelter, people then received the gift of meat, eggs or milk. There was a relationship between man and beast, and man and earth, a spiritual bond and connection that is being lost today; replaced instead by convenient and invisible food systems that are deeply corrupt, producing meat from animals who are tortured, sick and suffering.
“We need to have a relationship with our food to fully appreciate it,” Natalie told me. “When we reclaim our food system, we in turn reclaim our own humanity.”
In her Sacred Slaughter class, Natalie shows people the true cost of eating an animal, and then teaches her students how to make use of the whole animal: meat, hide, bones and brain. Eating meat is inextricably tied to death; and in facing that death, people are able to be accountable for the consequences of their choices, and hopefully gain greater appreciation and reverence for that sacrifice and sustenance.
I do not have the desire or the strength to slaughter an animal myself, and so I do not eat them. But if I did, I would do so this way. I would face the life and the death, and I would have Natalie Bogwalker there to teach, guide, and show me the way.
Writer, Beekeeper, Gardener, Vegetarian & Activist
Here is Aiyanna’s article, written after first meeting Natalie: