Despite being closely allied to the meat industry, the dairy industry is often overlooked as a huge net contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
A recent report, Milking the Planet, produced by the United States Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), has revealed the shocking scale of combined emissions by the world’s largest dairy corporations.
Between them, the world’s thirteen largest dairy corporations produce the same level of greenhouse gas emissions as the entire UK. They emit more greenhouse gases than many other major polluters, including some of the world’s biggest oil, gas and mining corporations.
A separate report by the United Nations published last year, Climate Change and the Global Dairy Cattle Sector, reveals a parallel, but related, development within the dairy industry.
Despite an overall rise in dairy production since the mid 1980s (up by 30% over just the past 15 years), 80% of dairy farms in the European Union and 93% of those in the US have disappeared as the big dairy corporations have muscled in to the sector. The stranglehold by these mega-dairies has led to overproduction, forcing smaller farmers out of business as well as increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
To address this problem, Milking the Planet proposes that subsidies should be removed from industrial agriculture and replaced by financial incentives to regenerate rural communities through agroecology.
The report also calls for caps on production to protect both the climate and to support smaller farmers, who are unable to compete fairly because of overproduction and the huge economies of scale the biggest corporations can achieve.
Across the world, perverse taxpayer subsidies consistently benefit large corporations at the expense of small-scale producers, this perpetuating this destructive model of agriculture.
As the report concludes, “For a real climate revolution in the agriculture sector, governments have to transform farm and climate policy in a way that shifts power away from these corporate drivers. They must be courageous enough to enact policy change towards agroecological systems that empower rural producers to do the right thing for their families, communities and the planet”.
Onto the recipe.
Chargrilling the broccoli “steak” gives it a lovely taste and appearance. I used a griddle pan for this recipe, but you could cook your broccoli steaks on a barbecue.
Chimichurri is a delicious sauce originating in Argentina, and often served there as an accompaniment to beefsteak. Here – put to much more imaginative use – is my version.
broccoli steaks with chimichurri sauce
2 heads of broccoli
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
for the chimichurri sauce
2 plum tomatoes
20 g coriander, chopped
15 g parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 green chilli
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp sea salt
100 m extra virgin olive oil
30 ml red wine vinegar
1. Cut a small nick in the base of each tomato using a sharp knife. Place the tomatoes in a bowl and carefully cover with very hot water. After two minutes drain and plunge into very cold, preferably iced, water. The skins should peel off easily. Halve the tomatoes and scoop out the seeds. Chop the flesh finely and place in a food processor. Add the coriander, parsley, chopped garlic, chilli flakes, oregano, sea salt, olive oil and red wine vinegar. Blend together until you have a smooth sauce. Leave to one side to allow the flavours to develop.
2. Cut each broccoli head down the middle, through the central stem. Cut a 1 cm slice on either side, so that each has part of the stem. Trim the end of the stem. Steam the broccoli heads for 4 minutes, then drain, refresh under cold water and pat dry on kitchen paper.
3. Heat a ridged griddle pan over a high heat. Brush the broccoli steaks with oil on one side and, once the pan is very hot, carefully place the steak, oiled side down, in the griddle pan. Leave for 4-5 minutes, or until dark char lines are evident when you lift the steaks. Brush the top of each steak with oil then carefully turn over. Cook for another five minutes. You may need to cook the broccoli steaks in batches, depending on the size of your pan.
4. Serve each broccoli steak with a generous helping of chimichurri and accompaniments of your choosing (I like to serve these with sweet potato oven fries and a crisp green salad).