I’m a big fan of US farmer Joel Salatin. He’s the man behind Polyface Farm, “a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley”.
You might recognise him from the recent films Food, Inc and Fresh, and from Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
One of my favourite articles by Joel is Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal (PDF). It’s an absolutely brilliant piece on how the rules and regulations that are introduced to try to curtail the excesses and greed of “big agriculture” are crippling family farms. It’s a hilarious story, and then you realise that it’s not.
Joel has been in Australia recently – there is some decent coverage on the ABC web site:
- The joys of being a ‘lunatic’ farmer (article)
- ABC Radio Melbourne on the Conversation Hour interview (audio)
- ABC Radio Life Matters interview (audio)
- Joel Salatin on Landline (video + transcript)
Have a read/listen, and let me know what you think in the comments!
For those wanting to see Joel in person, he’ll be doing some Regenerative Agriculture workshops and talks in NSW in November 2010, thanks to Milkwood Permaculture.
(The photo above is from Dabdiputs, used under the Creative Commons license)
Update 9-6-2010: Added the link to the Landline interview above.
Just read the Omnivores dilemma and was fascinated by the Polyface farm. If he went to Australia, does that mean there are people that look to start similar farms in Australia?
@John: There certainly are people in Australia that are interested in Joel Salatin-style setups, but I don’t know of any specific farms that have the system up and running. There must be some, I guess they’re just getting on with it and not seeking publicity. I’d love to see something like that around here – the land should be perfect for it.
@John there are HEAPS of farms all over Aus using Salatin-esque systems, indeed some Australian farms influenced Joel in the early days of his setup, i believe. It’s a bit chicken and egg.
Joel uses Holistic Management, Permaculture and a host of his own design systems to make Polyface what it is. He’s a great example of ‘beyond organic’ but there are many other like him, in Australia and beyond.
Allsun Farm near Gundaroo is an amazing microfarm using Jole’s chicken tractor systems: http://www.allsun.com.au
Me again – i should add that Joel Salatin is coming back this August and you can read all about it here: http://milkwood.net/2011/05/23/joel-salatin-returns-to-australia/ – best!
@Kirsten: Yep, I’ve got this workshop in my calendar of upcoming events here: http://green-change.com/2011/05/17/joel-salatin-workshop-jamberoo/
I’m planning to write up a blog post about it too, in case people don’t notice it in the events list.
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