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Joel Salatin on Edible Radio

Kate Manchester of Edible Communities interviews grass farmer Joel Salatin about new enterprises at Polyface Farm, acorn-fed pigs, and the “Sheer Ecstasy of being a Lunatic Farmer” (the title of his next book). Salatin is the loudest and one of the most eccentric voices in sustainable agriculture today. His Polyface Farm was held up as the exemplar for intentional, organic food production by Michael Pollan in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, as well as the producers of Food, Inc., a widely released documentary about our broken food economy. Joel tells Kate about new ventures at Polyface, including finding ways to bring “porcine temporary disturbance and successional freshness” to more of his land. In English, that means he’s letting his pigs feed on acorns in the woods, where they aerate and fertilize the soil, and eat plants that would otherwise compete with trees. In an economic innovation, Salatin has extended an offer to a former apprentice to form an autonomous veggie-growing enterprise distributed by Polyface. This sort of business incubation model is a tremendous opportunity for a young farmer. Hopefully other progressive grass farmers such as Mark Kimball at Essex Farm can provide similar opportunities. Kate and Joel then take a moment to talk about people’s food choices. The two chide those who characterize the organic food movement as elitist, and Joel makes the point that people need to “stop being victims” when it comes to making better food choices. Hailing from a food desert, I disagree somewhat. I recently moved to Vermont (the land of local milk and honey) from Jacksonville, Florida, which up until  three years ago was a city that took 40 minutes to drive across, held a population of close to a million, and had exactly zero local farms. In 2007, things changed when Brian and Kristin Lapinski started Down to Earth Farm. Apart from these brave pioneers, there was nothing a non-gardener could do to get local food of any kind. Not to mention urban residents, who deal with a stereotypical slew of problems from industrial contamination to decaying houses–plus being unable to get decent groceries. While it is always true that people can find new ways to be empowered, we can’t forget all the built-in challenges facing populations for whom choices are limited by factors beyond their control. For the full interview, go to Edible Radio: “broadcasting edible stories from local communities”.

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until next Spring. With author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors, you can grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s new book, Year-Round Indoor Salad […] Read More..

A Day in the Life of a Homesteader

As Homesteading Month comes to a close, we take a look at what it means to live the homesteading life every day. Read through the question and answer below and be sure to check out any of the previous articles you might have missed:Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders Homesteading Q&A: Solutions […] Read More..

Go Lean: How To Eliminate Waste and Increase Efficiency on the Farm

Using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence may seem sacrilegious, but today’s young farmers like author Ben Hartman are discovering that the same sound business practices apply whether you produce cars or carrots.In his new book The Lean Farm, Hartman demonstrates how applying lean principles—originally developed by the Japanese automotive industry—to farming practices […] Read More..

Why Acquiring Land Presents a Challenge for New Homesteaders

More and more often, young people are turning away from cities and urban life in order to live off the land and even start farms of their own. But while many have the desire to grow food for themselves and/or others, acquiring land, and the financial burden that comes with it, presents a difficult challenge […] Read More..

How to Distinguish Permaculture from Natural Farming

Just what are the differences between permaculture and natural farming? How are they connected, and where do they diverge in philosophy and principle?Those questions are answered in the following excerpt that is adapted from the newly released One-Straw Revolutionary, a book that delves into the philosophy and work of Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka […] Read More..