Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Joel Salatin: The Revolution will be Farmed

Easter Sunday at 5 o'clock I was sitting in a lecture hall at Columbia University waiting to hear a visionary farmer talk about the future of food, actually to be more precise his talk was about the Price of good food and can we feed the world. He gave two talks which were both organized by the good folks who made the new documentary film Fresh check out their site for upcoming events, they have been very busy and wonderfully creative in mobilizing foodies here in New York to raise awareness of their film. Tomorrow is a Six Points Craft Ale and Mast Brothers chocolate tasting at Mast Brothers chocolate factory which I would love to go to!

Click here to get tickets and more information.

In addition to this tasting there are still a few farm to table dinners coming up so definitely check them out.

I've been mulling over in my head what exactly to say about Joel Salatin, who you might better know as the guy Michael Pollen wrote about in his seminal work Omnivore's Dilemma. Joel also makes an appearance in Food Inc. He owns Polyface Farms near Staunton, Virginia.

Mr Salatin is a force of nature, an incredibly smart, passionate, articulate farmer and activist who has some very insightful and scary information about how our food is grown and the phenomenal cost of our "cheap" fossil fuel based monoculture corporate agriculture.

Most likely if you are reading this here you don't need me to go on about it any more. The similarities between Wendell Berry (whose book Bringing It To The Table I'm currently reading) and Mr. Salatin are quite striking.

The essay I read just before the lecture was written in 1971 it was about the Governments war on small, local slaughterhouses, a topic Mr. Salatin also spoke about. It's interesting to me to see how this conflict has been going on for well over 40 years now and how the federal government has in those forty years done everything in it's power to destroy the lives and livelihoods of small farmers. To replace honest hard work and quality with cheap, dangerous destructive and inferior mass production. To destroy a body of knowledge about our land with knowledge about pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers that are all fossil fuel based and it probably goes without saying, are killing our land.

Joel wrote a book which is for sale on his website that I am going to order it's called:

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War stories from the local food front.

I highly recommend you go and see the movie Fresh, but I suppose more than anything I have to say to you is to go out and have a conversation about food and farming with someone who doesn't already know about the problem. It's time we all started expanding the conversation.

Here's Joel in action.

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