In 1961, then 4-year-old Joel Salatin and family moved to Virginia where they lived on a piece of land that was self-described as the armpit of the community. The land was cheap and had gully’s 16 feet deep that looked more like corrugated roofing than actual farm land.
The land was infertile, too. As a young child, Joel remembers walking the entire farm without setting foot on one piece of vegetation. After centuries of putting the land to the plow, upwards of 5 feet of top soil was now gone, being washed down into the Chesapeake Bay. Simply put, the land was cheap because the land was unproductive.
How One Visit To Grandpa’s Farm Changed Everything
Contrasting this self-described armpit of the community land with multiple childhood visits to Joel’s Grandpa’s “backyard garden” in Indiana, which he describes as Eden, was easy.
What they saw at Grandpa’s was abundance. What they had in Virginia was hard clay, weeds, brambles, broom sage, hawkweed, and poverty. The stark contrast has stayed with Joel his entire life.
In a recent Tedx Talk, Joel shared how those trips to Grandpa’s house helped mold him into who he is today, “Looking back, I realize the reasons why I am so impassioned with the farm is because I always wanted to duplicate on our infertile place the abundance I felt at Grandpa’s farm.”
The Most Famous Farmer In The World
Fast forward all these years, at 59, Joel has become known by many as the most famous farmer in the world, or as the New York Times called him, the High Priest of the Pasture.
This self-described “Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer” has quite the resume authoring nine books, has been featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma as well as the award-winning documentary Food Inc.,
Salatin writes The Pastoralist column for Stockman Grass Farmer, which is the most influential catalyst for the grass farming movement. He also writes the Pitchfork Pulpit column for Mother Earth News, along with numerous guest articles for ACRES USA and various other publications.
Here is a list of some of Joel’s books, all of which reflect dirt-under-the-fingernails experience punctuated with mischievous humor:
- PASTURED POULTRY PROFITS: Net $25,000 in 6 months on 20 Acres
- SALAD BAR BEEF: Despite today’s low cattle prices you can make a good profit with a small beef cattle operation.
- YOU CAN FARM: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise
- FAMILY FRIENDLY FARMING: A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament
- HOLY COWS AND HOG HEAVEN: The Food Buyer’s Guide to Farm Friendly Food, is an attempt to bring producers and patrons together in mutual understanding and appreciation
- FOLKS, THIS AIN’T NORMAL: A Farmer’s Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
- THE MARVELOUS PIGNESS OF PIGS: Nurturing and caring for all God’s Creation
From Armpit To Abundance
Polyface Farm is a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The farm, which Joel co-owns with his family, is arguably America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis. In this, the Salatin family believes that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world.
Joel and Polyface Farm is in the redemption business: healing the land, healing the food, healing the economy and healing the culture stating that, “As the problems of the world become more and more complex, the solutions become clear and simple.”
Here are 5 guiding principles that Joel Salatin and all at Polyface Farms operate in accordance to that has led them to such renown amongst so many:
- TRANSPARENCY: Anyone is welcome to visit their farm anytime. No trade secrets, no locked doors, every corner is camera-accessible.
- GRASS-BASED: Pastured livestock and poultry, moved frequently to new “salad bars,” offer landscape healing and nutritional superiority.
- INDIVIDUALITY: Plants and animals should be provided a habitat that allows them to express their physiological distinctiveness. Respecting and honoring the pigness of the pig is a foundation for societal health.
- COMMUNITY: They do not ship food, believing we should all seek food closer to home, in our foodshed, and our own bioregion. This means enjoying seasonality and reacquainting ourselves with our home kitchens.
- NATURE’S TEMPLATE: Mimicking natural patterns on a commercial domestic scale insures moral and ethical boundaries to human cleverness. Cows are herbivores, not omnivores; that is why they’ve never fed them dead cows like the United States Department of Agriculture encouraged (the alleged cause of mad cows).
- EARTHWORMS: They’re really in the earthworm enhancement business. Stimulating soil biota is their first priority. Soil health creates healthy food.
Today, Polyface Farm alone services more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets, and a farmers’ market with salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry, and forestry products.
Joel Salatin To Speak At Organic Earthly Delights
Agriculture is the most damaging industry but it doesn’t have to be. This regenerative model of food production, which Joel has been at the forefront of, could be just the very thing that saves us!
The Salatin family continues to invite like-minded people to join in their farm’s mission, which is to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.
We invite you to come to our farm, located here in Madras, Oregon for a special opportunity to hear Joel Salatin speak on Friday August 18th and Saturday August 19th. We will be providing both breakfast and lunch for this event. The cost is just $99 per day or both days for only $175. Click here to attend