Mepkin Abbey has formed an advisory panel to help figure out what industry to pursue after it halt its egg production business. PETA protests last year over the treatment of chickens at the monastery caused a public outcry, which in turn led to the decision to phase out the business.
According to Mepkin Abbey's Web site, the panel includes two Piggly Wiggly executives, two Berkeley County business people, a banker, a retired chief financial officer, an organic farmer, a business consultant, and two representatives from the Catholic community.
The panel met earlier this month, the monastery said, and brainstormed to come up with some ideas:
Ideas that surfaced in the small groups were, on the agriculture side, growing: mushrooms, bamboo for use in production of building and clothing materials, heirloom corn and wheat, organic vegetables and herbs, beets to use as a road deicer, and native plants to sell to local nurseries. Several members promoted the idea of establishing a public cemetery somewhere on Mepkin's property. Other non-agricultural ideas included beer production and book scanning.
The panel also considered products that have been successfully produced at other monasteries: bread, jams, caskets, candy, vestments, book binding, wine warehousing, honey products, walnuts, prunes, wine, bonsai, and cheese.