Month: September 2013

Monday Miscellany: Wise Old Women

I hadn’t realized how old Bridget was looking until I snapped this picture of her chattering at me. She’s always quick to meet me at the gate and usually has something to say. She’s one of our sows who consistently weans 100% of her pigs, […]

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Farrow to Finish: To Market, To Market

The old nursery rhyme says, “to Market, to market to buy a fat pig,” but in the case of our farrow to finish litter it’s more like, “to market, to market because they’re fat pigs.” Though it’s taken me a bit to put together an […]

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Chipotle’s Scarecrow Part Two: A World of Pure Imagination, Indeed.


– If you haven’t already, you may want to read the first part of this series for context and backstory. Chipotle’s Scarecrow Part One: Lessons in Corporate Greed

Blake Mycoskie is not a farmer. He owns TOMS, the high profile shoe company that gives a pair of shoes to an impoverished child in a developing nation for every pair you buy for yourself. They’re not the single most attractive shoes in the world, but they’re arguably one of the most iconic items of the twenty-teens.

In 2011 Mycoskie wrote a book about his experience founding TOMS and how people could take on similar ventures. In that book, Start Something That Matters, he writes about the outcome of a study that was done at Carnegie Mellon University. Participants in the study thought they were earning five quick dollars answering questions about technological gadgets, but researchers were actually interested in how our behavior is affected by the way something is presented to us — specifically how we react to facts vs stories. After answering the tech questions each participant was given five $1 bills and one of two letters. One of the letters was a fact-filled sheet, citing statistics about extreme poverty. The other was a riveting story about a desperately poor Malawian girl named Rokia. At the end both asked for donations to the same well-known international charity, Save the Children, and a curious thing happened: Participants who received the story of Rokia donated more than twice as much as their counterparts who received the fact-filled letter.

Why? Because, as we’ve confirmed again and again since, people make emotional decisions. Stories tap into our emotions, arouse our innate humanity, and propel us to impassioned action. We don’t just give (or buy or act), we give and then tell others about the thing that made us give in the first place. Not only did Rokia’s story elicit more donations, with what we now understand about the psychology of this kind of marketing we can make a pretty safe assumption that it was retold in conversations participants had with their friends and family later.

So, why do I tell you all of this and what does it have to do with Chipotle, The Scarecrow, and the telling conversation I had with their Corporate Spokesman, Chris Arnold? (more…)

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Chipotle’s Scarecrow Part One: Lessons in Corporate Greed

— I try very hard to present a fair and balanced view of agriculture and the series of posts I have planned on this topic will not be an exception. I have written this particular post no less than ten different ways looking for the […]

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Monday Miscellany: Out-of-Work Boar Behavior & Pig Dog Progress

We’ve hit a milestone, ya’ll. The Pig Dog has become useful. Hallelujah! One day last week Geoff Peterson — whose pig age roughly equates with that of a twenty-one year old human male and has thus earned the nickname “Geoff Peter-face” — decided gates were […]

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Saturday Swinetacular: This Little Piggy

5piggys002I have (what may be) an unhealthy fascination with old children’s toys, books, and pictures. They always seem so odd at first, like they’re not at all fit for children. But then I think about how the children’s toys, books, and shows of today would probably strike the people who lived back then. In a competition for most ghastly and garish kids’ content I’m fairly certain we’d win.

At any rate, this print dates back even further than most I’ve found. It’s a Victorian era print depicting the “This Little Piggy” nursery rhyme.

According to Wikipedia “This Little Piggy”, or “This Little Pig” as they say on the other side of the pond, was first published in its entirety in 1760. It also says the version that has the third little pig having roast beef instead of jam and bread is considered the modern version, but that’s clearly a slab of beef tucked under the middle pig’s forearm and I’ve seen several other vintage prints with the roast beef prominently displayed. I suppose when it comes to nursery rhymes “modern”, like “beauty”, is in the eye of the beholder.

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Pulled Pork Tacos

One of my favorite flavor combinations is that of a good jalapeno popper. Not the kind you can buy in the grocer’s freezer section and warm up in an oven, the ones that are coated in whatever sad excuse is passing for commercial breading these […]

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