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Natural Foods Merchandiser

Q&A with Orren Fox

Q: Why did you start your blog

A: When I got my first hens about three years ago, the blog was a way for me to keep a digital journal about my birds and what I was doing with them. I didn’t really intend it to be a place where anyone else went. Really, it has just been in the past year that people have noticed. It was amazing to me—whoa, people were reading my blog. I immediately realized I needed to do tons of research before writing anything.

Q: How has your blog evolved?

A: I think it all changed in fifth grade. At my school, we do a yearlong project and presentation. My subject was, yup you guessed it, chickens. At the time I thought my presentation would be about raising hens, about different breeds. But as I did more and more research, I realized that most hens in the country are raised as if they aren’t living creatures. I know many people believe differently, but cutting the beak off a hen with a hot blade, then putting her into a little cage with no sunlight, no place to roost, in such a little space that she can barely move, seems like torture to me. So I talked about it in my presentation, I think much to the dismay of some. Think about it: Many kids were doing subjects like unicorns, the national parks, trains, fashion—all awesome subjects, but then I get up and talk about factory farming.
Currently I am doing a ton of research on high-fructose corn syrup and food waste. I am amazed by how easily we throw away food. It took so much effort to grow, raise or make. I have been listening to Will Allen [director of the nonprofit community food system Growing Power] talk about food waste, compost and the power of worms. We now have 2,500 worms in our kitchen at home. Actually, right now I think our worms are depressed. They aren’t working very hard yet.

Q: What do you want to be when you become an adult?

A: I want to play for the Boston Celtics, be a judge and a farmer.

Q: What will farming look like when you’re 30 years old?

A: I think we will find places in our cities and towns where we can have gardens and farms. Look at Will Allen growing lots of food in a place [Milwaukee] that was not considered farm-friendly. Novella Carpenter has a farm in the middle of Oakland, Calif. Imagine the town or city where you live and imagine a piece of property where there is just enough space to grow some food. This way people can know who is growing their food, where it is coming from, and it won’t have to be trucked very far. I hope it will be like that.

Q: Do you think you (and other kids) will change the way people eat and live in the future?

A: I do. Kids are smart. Kids are going to create change because the current food system isn’t sustainable. Those of us who are 13 years old need to figure out a way to make it sustainable. One of my favorite things from [the movie] Food Inc. was the idea that three times a day we all get to vote about what is important to us. I’m 13; I can’t really vote, but I can by not eating chicken nibblets or eggs from poorly treated birds. It’s not cool.

–Interview by Pamela Bond

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