We at the PMC believe that everyone is entitled to a thorough understanding of the myriad, and often complicated and confusing, ways that our food gets to our tables. The more we understand and become skilled participants in this process, the more control we have over the system that feeds us—and the more we can potentially change that system for the better.
Because the portion of that system that delivers meat to our tables has been a particularly closed and hidden loop for the past century, we believe that a shared, community-minded education in slaughter, butchery, meat cookery, and charcuterie can provide an effective and necessary path to rethinking our food system. Plus, it’s been our experience that food is far more pleasurable to eat when we are involved in the decisions that lead to its preparation.
We encourage people with all levels of experience and skill to take part in the PMC’s classes. We’ve taught college students, bike messengers, lawyers, bankers, single moms and dads, hunters, farmers, chefs, web designers, social workers, aspiring meat cutters, artists, musicians, doctors, professors, the list goes on. Some of our students take our classes because they want to become professional meat cutters. Others take it just to have a new experience, or to learn more about raising and processing their own food. Students often come to our classes because they want to start purchasing whole or half animals directly from farmers who they trust and they want to be able to cut these animals up themselves. Others were given a spot in our class as a birthday present and had no idea how much they would enjoy learning to process a pig until they tried it. Some students come so that they can someday start their own salumerie or butcher shop. Farmers take the classes so that they can learn how to slaughter and butcher their own animals for their family. Still others take our classes just so that they know how to have an educated conversation with their local butcher about the difference between a pork butt and a picnic roast.
Which is all to say this: The Portland Meat Collective is an engaged, local food community meant for people with all levels of experience and backgrounds.