Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Peace Abbey

Last week the Peace Studies and Health & Sexuality classes had the opportunity to visit the Peace Abbey in Sherborn, Massachusetts. Teacher Richard Kleinschmidt reflected on the trip: "Our students approached the experience with an open reverence and it was an incredibly uplifting and educational experience."

Liz, one of the students on the trip, remarked on how peaceful the physical place felt.

One of the most interesting memorial statues (see photo) was in honor of Emily the cow, who managed to single hoofedly escape a local slaughter house and then came to live at the Peace Abbey for several years until her death. Her story is told as a tribute to nonviolent resistance and vegetarianism. In fact, visitors who bring their lunches are asked to eat no meat on to the grounds.

It's interesting to reflect on Emily the cow in the context of The Meeting School's working farm and our close relationship with our farm animals. In addition to our extensive vegetable gardens and fruit trees, all of the meat and a good portion of the dairy consumed by our community is raised right on campus. As part of their chores, students are responsible for feeding and caring for the animals - and giving them an occasional scratch behind the ear or a pat on the back. Our animals are treated humanely and with respect and care.

Which raises some questions about the farm to plate connection: What is the relationship between peace, what we eat, and other living animals?

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