A Reporter Scouting for Good Meat Stories | Inquiry


I'm a freelance reporter scouting around for story ideas, and wondered if I could pick the collective brain of the Butchers Guild about a couple of questions:

1) I occasionally see signs at meat shops and grocery stores advertising "meat bundles," which appear to be just that -- packages with a variety of cuts of beef, pork, and/or chicken. I saw a reference to these bundles mentioned in Matthew Desmond's excellent book "Evicted," which was reported from low-income neighborhoods in Milwaukee. I'm curious if "meat bundles" are a regional phenomenon in the Rust Belt (I live in Michigan) or if they're widespread across the country, and I'm wondering if they are in particular a fixture of low-income neighborhoods. Basically, I'm wondering if there might be an interesting cultural history behind meat bundles, or if they might in some way be an artifact of race/class/socioeconomic forces in our country. Maybe they're fascinating, or maybe they're just bundles of meat!

2) I remember reading a few years ago that a lack of USDA-approved slaughterhouses was, at least in some parts of the country, a major hurdle to developing markets for cattle producers dedicated to sustainable, grass-fed operations. I'm wondering if that's still a concern, what the barriers to solving the problem are, and if there are any innovative solutions being implemented that might make for a good story.

These are both kind of weird, open-ended questions, and I'm not sure if you're able to address them, but I thought it couldn't hurt to reach out. In any case, thanks for your time and for any suggestions you can provide.


"If you have a response, you can email Andy at amcglashen@gmail.com