The quality of affordable animal protein in cities is dismal. Popeyes, KFC, McDonalds, Burger King, and the dozens of other fast-food restaurants that dominate urban areas contribute to highly preventable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancers, high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke. These foods are dependent upon industrial meat farms that are most responsible for climate change and ecological destruction. There is another way!

While vegetarianism offers the most immediate answer to the problem of climate change, meat consumption is deeply woven into human cultures. And unfortunately, the common soy-based vegetarian diet itself is highly unsustainable, dependent upon genetically modified foods, industrial farming, and deforestation. We may not be able convince all Americans to convert to a vegetarian diet, but we can demonstrate how animal protein can be produced in a sustainable, humane way that honors the circle of life of which we are a part. What’s more, we can do it in a way that converts “wastes” into food…in fact, the backyard production of chickens, rabbits, fish, goats (and even snails and grubs) is necessary if we are to approach truly sustainable urban food system with local sources of protein.