On Sunday evening I went to listen to two talks by Joel Salatin. For me Joel is something of a super star – he was described by the NYTimes as the “high priest of the pasture” (though he describes himself as a Christian-conservative-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic). The holistic methods and ideologies used at his Polyface farm are described in detail in the Omnivore’s Dilemma and featured in Food Inc. and are at once simple and logical and yet totally revolutionary (given the general status quo in the food industry) – Polyface is a place ‘beyond organic’, a chemical free paradise that celebrates the pigness of pigs, builds a strong soil teaming with organic life and opens its doors to consumers to see where their food comes from.
When Joel got up to speak he was neatly attired in a suit and tie, in muted colors, not really what I was expecting (he later explained this was deliberate, based on a desire to show that farming is an intellectually stimulating and serious profession). Once he got started talking it didn’t matter what he was wearing, the words flowed out of him full of passion and enthusiasm; they came at an astounding rate without once missing a beat and were punctuated quite often with a mischievous smile.
The first talk was intended to answer the oft asked questions: Can this type of farming feed the world? Isn’t organic food just the purview of the elite? I took copious notes from which here are a few main points; if you want to read more, Joel has published several books and has a new one due to come out shortly.
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