Nicholas says many Americans' mental image of farming is based on our romanticized vision of a family farm. "But for a lot of economic reasons, that has been eclipsed by these huge factory farms," he says. "Most of the food that we end up eating is really from these confinement operations that can shave the cost of production by a penny an egg or a penny a pound."
Nicholas says he still enjoys eating meat. In fact, he wrote his original column partially in celebration of the opening of "barbecue season."
"My hope in writing that column was really that we would begin to appreciate that what we eat does have a story back there and that we can affect, by our own eating choices, the ways those animals are raised," he says. "I'm eating meat. I certainly wouldn't want to evangelize for vegetarianism. But I do think that we can, with some modest choices—and Proposition 2 is one example of that—have a great impact on the quality of life on farms all over the country and help preserve the family farm while we're at it."