What an honor it is to bring you a podcast interview with Mr. Joel Salatin! I finally got to visit Polyface Farms in Swoope, VA. There was so much there that I wanted to see in person from all of the books I read and the videos of Polyface that I saw: the egg mobile, the mob stock grazing, the rabbit tractors, etc. I set the whole day aside for travel there and to do a self-guided tour of the farm which I cataloged in the blog: Day at Polyface Farm.
I had arranged a long time in advance to actually get to speak with Joel Salatin himself. From that time together, we bring you this great interview. I always thought that Joel was inspirational and pretty cool from the books and Youtube videos, but I have to say that he is even cooler and more inspiring in person. Relax and take a listen to this nice long chat with one my personal heros, Joel Salatin.
The picture looks like Joel worked all day and I had not (because that was actually the case)
We talk about:
-Joel loves what he does, and likes to share the kind of things that they have learned over the years in farming
-It is important for the future of the culture to change course from the current ag model
-Polyface Farm mission statement: “We develop environmentally, emotionally and economically enhancing agricultural prototypes and to facilitate their reproduction around the world.”
-Things that I did NOT see at Polyface Farms
-Polyface tries to generate fertility from the carbon cycle and photosynthesis not petroleum
-The soil is a living organism (not something to hold up the plant)
-Plants an animals are biological not mechanical
-Plants and animals have immune systems that we can help or hurt that play a part in either wellness or sickness
-Polyculture between species (Permaculture losely defined) on pasture that constantly move around
-Direct market to the consumer instead of producing a raw commodity and value added processed later on (field to the fork)
-Transparency in farming (NO “No Trespassing” signs on the farm)
-Farming that is light weight and portable is going to be cheaper and easier to get into than traditional agriculture
-Need for disturbance in the progress cycle
-Can a generation of lunatic farmers really turn the industrial agricultural system around?
-Industrial agriculture is on precipitous slopes right now between fuel (average 50% of expenses on a typical farm) and pathogenicity
-The era of cheap fuel is abhorrent—fuel has never been cheap
-E. Coli, Salmonella, Listeria, Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, Camphylobacter, MRSA, C. Diff, food allergies—all this is part of Nature saying, “Enough!”
-Take the existing technology and leverage it to tap into the local carbon cycles
-Example of a young homeschooled boy who raises his own eggs (and read almost all of Joel’s books)
-Wilson’s theory of economics
-Redemptive Farming and living object lessons of that
-Churches turning lawn into farm land, doing ministry instead of talking about it
-Looking at nature’s patterns and learning from that. What is the essence of the cowness of cow?
-A farm should be aesthetically, aromatically and sensually romantic. If it stinks, pollutes your neighbor’s water or is a place where Kindergarteners do not want to be there—you are doing it wrong.
-Craftsmanship, entrepreneurship, relationship and interaction all inject a more human element into these relations
-Leveraging portability, profitability and fertility on the small scale homestead (stacking functions—Permaculture)
-Market Access vs. Food Safety —Why people should be educated on food policy in the era of unpronounceable food labels—who is responsible for safe food?
-Why the philosophy of food (biological or mechanical) —it really matters
-The perfect way to create the most amount of pathogens possible
-Honoring the life of the animal in life and appreciating their sacrifice
-Why does the US lead the world in chronic non-communicable diseases after we have conquered all of the infectious plagues?
-Can we? vs. Should we?
-Confining options, legal precedent, society responsible for my health and Universal Healthcare (yes, Joel went there)
-Do I get to choose my risk? “You can tell the strength of a society by the number of laws it has.”
-Consensus when we should be pushing for dissensus (Permaculture Handbook)
-Status quo, “Farm Bill Pyramid” and GMO patent lawsuits
-What is Joel mindful of on days that he slaughters animals
-Carbon senescence in the soil and Global Warming
-“Soil is always built with perennials.”
-“Herbivores and seafood are the two best ways to get food without tillage.”
-“Mob stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization.”
-“Nature does not move carbon around very much.”
-Instead of trying to shut down Monsanto, take a high moral road by empowering people to make their own choices in a un-manipulated system
-“What good is it to have the freedom to own guns, to worship, to fellowship, to speak or to assemble together—all these freedoms we have in this country, if I don’t have the freedom to chose the fuel to feed my internal community to give me the energy to go shoot, pray and preach?”
-“Who owns the person?”
-The marriage between large financial interest and regulatory policy
-Joel expresses why he is sensitive to GMO labeling because of the history of how the government got into the food business in the first place (from the Temperance movement). He is for enforcing existing law instead of making new laws. Be very careful about what makes your righteously indignant and ask for government relief from—it opens a whole new set of circumstances and consequences.
-Joel reveals his favorite way to eat his favorite food—pound cake
- Polyface Farm
- Joel’s Bio
- Polyface Bookstore
- Peter Bane author of The Permaculture Handbook
- Our buddy Paul Wheaton over at Permies.com and Richsoil.com
Pro Deo et Patria
Picture of Wilson and Joel Salatin at Polyface Farm by Pantry Paratus
Nothing in this blog constitutes medical advice. You should consult your own physician before making any dietary changes. Statements in this blog may or may not be congruent with current USDA or FDA guidance.