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  • Letters
    Morris displays valuesof solid state senatorWhy do I endorse Jack Morris for state Senate?First, he understands and cares about real people.
  • Cheers& jeers
    CHEERS to everyone involved in making the Honor Flight on Oct. 1 a day I will never forget.
  • Cheers& jeers
    CHEERS to everyone involved in making the Honor Flight on Oct. 1 a day I will never forget.
About the writer
Janet Katz, whose letter appeared April 4, has been selected as last month’s Golden Pen Award winner. In the judgment of the editors, she had the most effective letter to the editor during April.
Katz, 53, is a homemaker who previously worked as an organic chemist. She received her undergraduate degree from Kenyon College and her master’s degree from Ohio State University. She is pursuing a master’s degree in sustainable food systems from Green Mountain College in Vermont.
Katz, who has two children, said it was her son, an urban farmer, who got her interested in learning more about agricultural literacy and sustainable food.
“I try to support family farmers, but with the way things are, the reality is we have to have CAFOs,” Katz said. “We can’t just close our eyes and say, ‘Let’s just have family farms.’ I really wanted to write my letter in a way that was not elitist, not finger-wagging, but tried to get people talking and not name-calling.”
Katz received a gold-plated inscribed pen for her efforts. The Golden Pen Award was established to express our appreciation for the contributions our letter writers make to the editorial page.
Michelle Davies l The Journal Gazette
Janet Katz is April’s Golden Pen Award winner.

Golden Pen winner: April

High expectations of farmers

In his March 12 commentary regarding Indiana Senate Bill 373, Damian Mason noted that because “85 percent of Americans are at least two generations removed from farming ... much of what happens on the farm is shocking to suburbia.”

There is an increasing recognition that we need to improve our agricultural literacy – our understanding of where our food comes from and how it is produced. Mason points out that farms are private property – and as such what goes on there is none of our business.

Mason tries to paint everyone who questions the bills before the Indiana legislature as a “radical” or “animal rights vigilante.” I am none of these. I am a just a suburban homemaker who likes to cook, support local businesses, and who cares about where I live. When I can, I try to buy my meat from local farms. I still purchase some meat from grocery stores and eat meat at restaurants, but that does not mean that I do not care how the animals are treated. If Americans are going to eat meat, then we owe it to ourselves, the animals and our natural surroundings to assure that the farms that raise these animals are operated to the highest standards.

I think highly enough of my local farmers that I set higher expectations for the sustainability of their operations. I want all of them to make a good living, keep a higher percentage of my food dollar for their hard and conscientious labor, and I want them to feel proud enough of their farm practices and their stewardship of their land that they would welcome visitors to their farm.