Fat Biker

Got Milk?

Just try to hold your breath when cycling past the dairy farm — I fucking dare you. It can’t be done.

I’ve tried and tried when riding my bike on the Western Canal path near Queen Creek Road. There’s a micro diary farm that borders the road and the canal path.

Just a few cows stand in the “mud” to eat right next to the pavement of the 6-lane Queen Creek Road.

20-years ago, realtors used to tell the neighbors, “don’t worry, they will sell that farm soon.” At one point, the farmers finally put up a huge sign. “We are not moving. Get used to it.”

The farm is still there. Squeezed between a sea of red-tile roofs and not far from a public park and a freeway.

I used to think that burning sensation in my nostrils was the smell of cow shit. But then I noticed: the smell was worse when they were eating. The little tractor rolling by and throwing out bails of “food” was the source.

“Silage sucks,” my friend Scott said. “It’s moldy corn, grass and alfalfa.”

Apparently, cows are known to really like “silage” — piles of organic material, covered in plastic and allowed to rot for a while. I just know it smells worse than shit.

Kind of like the dairy industry in Arizona, itself.

Milk — it’s worse than shit

In the middle of a desert, in the middle of an historic draught, diary is one of the biggest agricultural products in the state. (Trading places for the top spot with “beef”). Dairy is a $750 million engine of exhausting our cheap water that can’t be replaced just so machines can suck the liquid from random mammals’ tits and ship it across the world — including Saudi Arabia.

A few years ago, the Saudi’s cut out the middle man, and just bought Arizona farm land. After using up all their own water, the Saudi’s are now sucking the Colorado River dry just to grow the hay and alfalfa, ship it to the Kingdom and feed it to their own cows.

The water is cheap — thanks to you and me, the American Taxpayer. We paid for all the dams, drainage tunnels, pumps and canals that make up the Central Arizona Project. Billions of dollars to reroute a big chunk of the mighty Colorado 336 miles to central Arizona and feed the Saudi farms as well as 100’s of other dairies in the state.

The users (farmers and cities) don’t come close to paying the cost of the canal. We don’t even cover the cost of maintenance. That’s on the taxpayer’s dime too.

We could make an argument that all of that development is a “waste.” The desert is no place for cities, farms and industrial ranches — not at least the way we have built them so far. We mostly have tried to “replace” the midwest with rows of tract houses, little lawns, golf courses and “ponds” all over Phoenix. (Don’t fool yourself, Americans are sucking the midwest dry too — using the Ogallala reservoir faster than we can replace it.)

But to me, the biggest waste in the desert is “milk.”

Seems like a lot of work, to replace a “wet nurse.” Remember the “good old days.” When rich women would just hire poor women to breast-feed their children… we know it from Shakespeare (funniest character in Romeo and Juliet is the wet nurse for Juliet).

Yes, our 21st Century sensibilities are disgusted by the idea of one woman providing milk for another’s child. We get grossed out by the idea of mothers’ “breast milk” in the fridge at work. Worse if some other adult drinks it. Ewwwww….

But it’s perfectly acceptable to outsource the job to cows or for you organic folks — milk a goat? You can leave that shit in the fridge with no label. The only bitching will occur if someone “steals it.”

This has been an ad campaign 8000 years in the making. When people first started herding cattle, they had to find a way to use “all the product” to really turn a profit.

Don’t call them “breasts” — call them udders. Put a picture of a friendly cow face on the box and name her “Elsie.” It’s the madmen’s Madison Avenue message run amok.

Now is a good chance to reverse this crazy trend. Thanks to Covid, we have way more milk than we can distribute. Arizona farmers are dumping it back on the desert.

Maybe, we should just cut back production? Maybe we should stop adults from drinking milk. (If my sugar mama stops buying it, I’ll stop drinking it — yes I’m too fucking lazy to make these changes myself.)

In the wake of this pandemic, now is the time to make food more local. Let’s scale back the agricultural-industrial complex, keep food more local and maybe even save some water for our children and grand-children.

So when Madison Ave asks: “Got milk?” Just say no.

11 replies »

  1. Totally. Agree. Cow’s (or goat’s) milk is for baby cows (or goats)! Cow’s milk is designed by nature to grow a baby calf up to 500 lbs in 6-7 months. It is not designed for humans… Just sayin’

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I gave up cow milk 4 or 5 years ago. Occasionally I buy a quart of oat milk for my morning oatmeal. Just a change from water. I live on the South Coast of Massachusetts. It was predominant farm country till the 60’s. Lots of dairy farms. The last one was sold two years ago. Have faith brother.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. When I was a kid my parents finally figured out I was allergic to cow’s milk. So they fed me something called Coffee Rich, which was delicious to me but basically chemicals meant for coffee, not copious bowls of cereal. It’s probably responsible for my dain bramage. Just kidding. I know how it’s spelled.

    Eventually soy milk then all the others came out. I can eat processed dairy like yogurt, cheese, ice cream. I tried being vegan twice, second time gave me anemia.

    My favorite movie title: I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With (Jeff Garlin and Sarah Silverman).

    Anyway, well written, has a point of view, and facts. But the comment about cactus is valid. Like Sam Kenison used to scream about famine-stricken Africa: IT’S SAND! YOU LIVE IN THE FUCKING DESERT! So I don’t know the answer but yeah maybe waste less water in the desert. God damn Saudis.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I live in the country surrounded by dairy fields and beside the farmyard itself. By now I’m used to the smell of silage and cowshit but if you think that’s bad try riding past a pig farm. Don’t dare think about starting a campaign against bacon though!

    Liked by 1 person

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