Salatin highlights sustainable food in Goshen lecture

A rebel is coming to Goshen.

Joel Salatin is an alternative farmer attempting to create a completely sustainable farm. Salatin also finds time to author several books about his intense operation and lectures around the country.

His most recent novel, “Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front,” describes his ongoing struggle with the United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration who want his farm closed.

The Community Sustainability Association and Maple City Market are hosting an evening with Salatin on Jan. 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the Old Goshen Theater on Main St. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $5 for students.

Salatin runs Polyface Farm in Virginia, which strives to imitate the processes he and his family see in nature.

According to their website, “Mimicking natural patterns on a commercial domestic scale insures moral and ethical boundaries to human cleverness. Cows are herbivores, not omnivores; that is why we’ve never fed them dead cows like the United States Department of Agriculture encouraged (the alleged cause of mad cows).”

Polyface is home to dairy cows, beef, pigs, chickens, turkeys and rabbits, which all rotate on the same ground. All livestock is pasture-fed, which in turn fertilizes the pasture.

Salatin writes extensively in his books about how the health of the pasture measures the health of everything else on the farm. This includes incorporating earthworms into the farm’s operation to produce optimal soil conditions.

Much to the frustration of the USDA and FDA, Salatin also butchers his own animals, offers complete transparency of his farm to buyers and refuses to ship outside parts of Virigina and Maryland. Customers may visit the farm at any time to form their own opinion of the farm.

Michael Pollan outlined Salatin’s Polyface Farm in his book, “The Omnivore’s Dilemna: A Natural History of Four Meals,” introducing the innovative farmer to a new group of readers.

To learn more about Salatin and Polyface Farm, visit polyfacefarms.com.

Marlys Weaver
Written by Marlys Weaver

Marlys E. Weaver is a senior journalism major and editor-in-chief of The Record. She grew up living and working on a Guernsey farm and has worked at Maple City Market as a sales staff member and newsletter editor, and on an organic coffee farm in Peru, giving her a well-rounded interest in food and agriculture. She has also reported for "The Farmers' Exchange," "The Elkhart Truth," "The South Bend Tribune," and collaborated on a story on msnbc.com.

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