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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”.


10 Books to Curl Up With This Winter

William Wordsworth was right when he said, “Nature never did betray the heart that loved her.” Nevertheless, the cold, dark days of winter can still get the best of even Nature’s most tenderhearted admirer. What’s one to do? We here at Chelsea Green have concocted the perfect cabin fever remedy with our suggested winter reading […] Read More..

Draft Power: The Life-Affirming Alternative to “Big Ag”

Farmers young and old are seeking new ways to shrink their carbon footprint and promote more ecologically friendly ways of getting chores done. So, what’s a modern farmer to do? For some, the centuries old approach of using draft animals—especially horses—is offering a very 21st century solution. Read More..

Top 8 Chelsea Green Books the Self-Styled Oregon Militia Should Read

The ongoing armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is showing no signs of ending — so, rather than send them snacks, or sex toys, we had an idea: Send them a book! Better yet, send them several Chelsea Green books. Don’t worry, we’ve picked five key titles that we think […] Read More..

A Book for the Fruit Nerd on Your Holiday Gift List

Have a fruit enthusiast on your holiday shopping list this year? Then give the gift that Booklist calls, “a thorough investigation of one wonderful fruit”—The Book of Pears by Joan Morgan.Sure cherries, plums, peaches, and other fruits have their unique qualities, but nothing quite compares to the pear’s luscious texture, richness of taste, and fragrance reminiscent […] Read More..

Unlock the Secret to the Perfect Salad with Soil Sprouts

As the weather gets colder and seasonal produce only means root vegetables, we begin to dream about fresh greens and colorful salads. Without a greenhouse or expensive equipment, it’s hard to imagine a reality in which you can have fresh and local greens every day. Luckily, Peter Burke has a method: in his book Year-Round Indoor […] Read More..
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