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On her Douglasville farm, Rodgers Greens and Roots, Ashley Rodgers is completely in her element, wearing khaki shorts, a baggy t-shirt, rubber boots, and covered in manure.
"The big question for chicken—and for any meat that goes antibiotic-free—is a question that faces all of food production: Is better, safer food going to be something that only well-off people can afford? That hangs over all of these transformations of food systems," Maryn McKenna says.
Antibiotics don’t just fight infections; they also fatten chickens. In an excerpt from her new book, Big Chicken, Atlanta journalist Maryn McKenna explores how consumer demand is forcing huge companies, such as Perdue and Chick-fil-A, to go antibiotic-free.
Cold winter, hot summer; too much rain, too little. It hardly matters to Jeff Adams, owner of Circle A Lettuce. Each week year-round, he harvests about 3,000 heads of lettuce from his hydroponic greenhouse in Cumming.
The Mexicans—thirty-two of them—wait for the pickup truck. They are dressed, almost to a man, in dirty jeans, boots, long sleeves, and baseball caps. Some wear bandannas to shield their necks and ears from legions of gnats. The rising late-summer sun is starting to cut through the morning mist that clings to the orchards and fallow pastures of Peach County like a thin coat of fuzz.
Like any farmer, Kevin Candelario Arita keeps an anxious eye on the weather. “In Georgia, it’s just so weird and unpredictable,” he says, fingering the waxy leaf of a coffee plant.