Once chicken was a rare treat, yet today, we gorge on it. Australians are the fourth largest consumers in the world, eating 623 million chickens a year, or 46 kilograms each.
From supermarkets to fast food, the message is the same, ‘Eat chicken, it’s cheap!’
Intensive production is the industry’s aim—40,000 birds live in a shed, with 19 chickens per metre, squared. They’re alive for 35 days, and 10,000 are killed per hour, peak pace.
Whatever for? Bland breasts on polystyrene. Throwaway meal deals. ‘Protein’ that we overeat.
Can Australians chill on the chicken? Let us pause to consider. Can we eat less, but better? Make the most of chicken that we buy? Can we learn to value chicken? Can we try?
On small farms there are positive signs. Chickens free to roam have steadily grown. A slower growing hybrid was born. On-farm processing is an attainable goal.
These farmers share how they grow—but seeing chickens, beyond meat, is often avoided—so this is a step too far for most.
It’s time we faced the chicken on our plate.
For five years on social media, I’ve connected farmers with food-lovers to create the future of food… but there is only so much that information can do.
Art activism is my next foray.
Why am I telling you this? Art is a journey and I’d love you to come along. That’s why I’m crowdsourcing chicken stories and bones.
Let’s make art together
Make a difference to chickens by sharing your story, to imbue chickens with life and meaning that eaters rarely see. Plus if you send your chicken bones, we’ll create wondrous things.
Send your chicken story
Reward: Your contribution may be used to create an artwork, and be shared on social or traditional media. You’ll be publicly acknowledged online, and if your story is exhibited, you’ll be credited. You’ll also be kept up-to-date of the project’s progress.
- Reflect upon your connection with the life and death of chickens. Are they named? Which breed? Illustrate their quirks and personalities with a story. How has your chicken consumption changed? What changed it? Why?
- Write your name and location.
- Send your story, and accompanying high-resolution photos if you have some, to email@example.com.
Reward: You’ll receive a ceramic token of appreciation. Your contribution may be used to create an artwork, and be shared on social or traditional media. You’ll be publicly acknowledged online, and if your bones are exhibited, you’ll be credited. You’ll also be kept up-to-date of the project’s progress.
- Pledge your chicken bones to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Once you have enjoyed your meal, and made nourishing stock, remove the meat and cartilage remnants from the bones.
- Rinse the bones. Dry them in the sun, or in the oven on low heat.
- Wrap the bones well. Label them with your chicken’s details: name, sex, age, breed and personality insights. Add a handful of feathers if you have them.
- Write your name and location. Include your reply-to address to receive your ceramic reward.
- Post your parcel to: FlavourCrusader PO Box 1015 Surry Hills NSW 2010.