Billionaire Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has recently announced that this year he has started a personal challenge to only eat meat that he has killed himself. From lobsters and chickens to pigs and goats, he has vowed not to eat any meat from an animal that he has not personally rendered.
Zuckerberg has embraced the economics of more sustainable localized food production; he decided that if he is going to eat animals, that butchering his own meat locally made the most sense to him. He explained a bit about his new insight into food and agriculture:
“I’m eating a lot healthier foods. And I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals. It’s easy to take the food we eat for granted when we can eat good things every day.”
Zuckerberg wrote an email to Fortune detailing his personal motivations behind his localized food challenge, as well as why he is trying to take more direct responsibility for his meat intake:
“To start, let me give you some background on what I’m doing. Every year in recent memory, I’ve taken on a personal challenge — something to learn about the world, expand my interests and teach myself greater discipline. I spend almost all of my time building Facebook, so these personal challenges are all things I wouldn’t normally have the chance to do if I didn’t take the time.
Last year, for example, my personal challenge was to learn Chinese. I blocked out an hour every day to study and it has been an amazing experience so far. I’ve always found learning new languages challenging, so I wanted to jump in and try to learn a hard one. It has been a very humbling experience. With language, there’s no way to just ‘figure it out’ like you can with other problems — you just need to practice and practice. The experience of learning Mandarin has also led me to travel to China, learn about its culture and history, and meet a lot of new interesting people.
This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I’ve basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I’m eating a lot healthier foods and I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals.
I started thinking about this last year when I had a pig roast at my house. A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn’t want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from.”
Given Zuckerberg’s public position and scope of influence, his enthusiastic support for a more hands on method of localized food production, as well as for taking more personal responsibility for what we eat and knowing where it comes from, is likely to have a huge ripple effect throughout our popular culture.