Beth Gratzer is the Good Meat® Project’s Program Director. She has over a decade of professional experience across industries ranging from community-based disaster recovery, to bartending and serving tables, to editing documentary film, to working in nonprofits. Beth received her MS in Community and Regional Planning from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where she completed a thesis exploring what more gender-inclusive housing policies might look like in New York City. She went on to do grant writing and community development programming for nonprofits, community liaison and participatory budgeting facilitation at the local government level, and community planning with the federal government following Hurricanes Irma and Maria. After a deployment with FEMA, Beth accepted what was supposed to be a temporary job working behind the counter at a whole animal butcher shop, fell in love with the work, and has been dedicated to working in the Good Meat universe ever since. Beth has worked for butcher shops in New York City and Portland, Oregon, and as an Operational Associate with Happy Valley Meat Company. She has been with the Good Meat Project since 2020.
How do you define your Good Meat® values?
I think a lot of things come into play when defining your own Good Meat values, but the one unifying factor is that it inspires a deeper connection to and curiosity about our food systems and how we interact with them. It's meat that gives us an avenue to think about the world around us, how we fit into it, and how we might improve it in real and tangible ways.
Why is it important to center your Good Meat® values in your professional career?
I think that being thoughtful, inquisitive, and honest about where food comes from allows us to have a deeper connection to the land, animals, and people who played pivotal roles in getting it to our plate. I’m committed to living my Good Meat values because it’s an amazing and nourishing way to facilitate that connection and allows us to more clearly explore our roles in the larger food system in which it’s produced.
What is one thing you wish more people knew about the food on their plates?
Buying from a Good Meat® producer or butcher is a really great gateway into thinking about so much more than food. When you really get into the weeds of it, eating meat is about history, culture, economics, labor, land rights, water rights, oppression, resilience and so much more. If there’s one takeaway I could share with folks about eating food that aligns with your values is that it’s a way to interact with and better understand the world that can be both very intimate and personal, as well as communal and universal.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face as a Good Meat® advocate?
That eating it doesn’t need to be an identity-consuming pursuit! You don’t need to be a certain type of person, exclusively eat organic, raw livers or be obsessed with “clean eating” to be into high quality products from Good Meat® producers. If you have genuine curiosity about your food and the mechanisms in place that got it to you, explore it! It shouldn’t be rooted in judgment, exclusivity or gatekeeping– instead, it’s really for everyone who wants to interrogate our food systems and pursue a more honest and genuine relationship with them.
What meat, or meat dish, do you eat most regularly and what do you eat for a special occasion?
I’m a sucker for a “kitchen sink” weekday stirfry. I’m terrible at meal planning, so most regularly I’ll defrost some ground meat at the last minute (usually beef, pork or lamb depending on what share I have left in my freezer from buying a half or quarter animal earlier that year), and throw in whatever veggies I have in the fridge that make sense along with some made-up stir fry sauce (usually including soy sauce, fish sauce, hot chili oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger etc). I’ll serve this on-the-fly and entirely inauthentic stir fry with rice or noodles and lots of scallions and chili crisp. For a special occasion in the Winter, I’ll do a more involved braised pork belly dish or a bolognese that I’ll leave on the stove for a million hours. During the Summer, I love grilling up a picanha with some seasonal veggies from the farmers market.
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