For those who may not know, Joel Salatin is basically a rock star of the Food Movement - many call him: "A Celebrity Farmer". He knows it, but he is so much about farming, healthy living and education that he remains very approachable and wholly humble.
I've read many of his books (see list below), seen him in interviews and documentaries, and even met him once before today. Today's trip was for other purposes, which we will reveal in the coming months, but I got so much more than I had bargained for this morning, that it has taken me all day and I still haven't processed it all.
I was immediately struck by all the "traditional" or "industrial" farms we passed on the way to Polyface. I knew a fair amount about how Polyface farmed before ever stepping foot on the farm, and for some reason, it surprised me that so many of his neighbors (and mine too for that fact) are just "doing what they've always done." I know there's the old "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" motto, but the reality is that our food system IS BROKE. Corporate Agriculture is killing each and everyone of us. Just last week, the EPA raised raised the safety threshold of glyphosate that is allowed to be in consumable goods. What's glysophate? It's the toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Round-up pesticide, which ultimately ends up in your food or in the feed that livestock consumes. But that is just one example of how our Food system is broke.
The underlying theme that seemed to emerge in our discussion with Joel was "Food Integrity."
To use a popular contemporary exclamation: BAZINGA! (keep reading to learn more about food integrity.
I've been on a fair number of farms over the years, and what struck me about Polyface was not only that everything had it's place and purpose, but that there were no unpleasant odors.
The farm was not without odors - just that there were no odors that turned your stomach.
The reason: Food Integrity.
The animals are not pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. The animals eat what they are supposed to eat - not cheap GMO corn feed. As Joel likes to say, "Pigs are honored for their pigness."
THIS approach to food is holistic, symbiotic and, well, just plain healthy.
I can't wait for Joel Salatin's next book coming this Fall:
Fields of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Partnering, Germinating
A short list of Joel's Books:
- Salad Bar Beef (1995)
- Pastured Poultry Profit$ (1996)
- You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterpris (1998)
- Family Friendly Farming: A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament (2001)
- Holy Cows and Hog Heaven: The Food Buyer's Guide to Farm Friendly Food (2005)
- Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front (2007)
- The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer (2010)
- The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market... (2011)
- Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World (2012)
- Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers' Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm (2013)