Good kill, good food: How to thank a chicken

For anthropologist-turned-local farmer Elizabeth Van Deventer of Davis Creek Farms, killing animals to eat involves showing respect and gratitude for the sustenance they will provide. As the photo shows, Van Deventer holds a chicken close to her breast before taking its life, a ritual whose meaning she will discuss Friday, July 29, as part of psychologist Len Worley's summer program series on the Downtown Mall.

Indeed, when most of us happily enjoy a nice herb-roasted chicken breast or rib eye steak at our favorite restaurant, the reality of taking the animal's life is far removed from our experience. Worley, whose practice combines the  psychological with the spiritual, will interview Van Deventer on the dilemma of having to take a life in order to eat.

Worley says this presentation is a forerunner to a longer series of events he will be hosting, starting in late August, called the Avatar Project: Activating Genetic Potential.

"I will bring together doctors, nutritionists, scientists, and healers twice a month to discuss the latest innovations for not only extending life but actualizing our greater physical and mental capacities," says Worley. "High quality, nutritionally dense, locally grown food is a central focus of this discussion, and Elizabeth Van Deventer’s presentation will heighten awareness of where our food comes from, how it is prepared, and how we participate in the larger web of life."

Whoa, that's deep, man!

Van Deventer, who has been featured in Southern Living, grew up on a Virginia dairy farm, but traveled the world as a Peace Corps volunteer in West Africa and researched farming culture in France. She has a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and founded her farm in Lovingston with her husband and family, managing a herd of 50 cattle and 4,000 chickens.

The talk starts at 7pm at 211 West Main Street. The event is free, but you need to register by emailing Worley at or by calling 434-953-5399.

1 comment

Thank you, Elizabeth. The act portrayed in this photo is profound and right.