Mother Earth News Fair
Our FAIRS bring living wisely to life with hands-on workshops in organic gardening, country skills, renewable energy and more.


Salatin Family Models Non-Industrial Farming

With the 2019 FAIR season now in the rearview mirror, we are full speed ahead on 2020 planning. That includes the first EVER on-farm FAIR experience! Advance passes for the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR at Polyface Farm will be available for purchase on the FAIR website later this month, and they will include “earlybird” discounts. Check back the week of Nov. 11.

Further down in this posting are a few images featuring some of the “points of interest” that attendees will experience at this one-of-a-kind event along with captions written by Joel Salatin. First, here is a little history on the farm:

In 1961, William and Lucille Salatin moved their young family to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, purchasing the most worn-out, eroded, abused farm in the area near Staunton. Using nature as a pattern, they and their children began the healing and innovation that now supports three generations.

Disregarding conventional wisdom, the Salatins planted trees, built huge compost piles, dug ponds, moved cows daily with portable electric fencing, and invented portable sheltering systems to produce all their animals on perennial prairie polycultures.

Today the farm arguably represents America’s premier non-industrial food production oasis. Believing that the Creator’s design is still the best pattern for the biological world, the Salatin family invites like-minded folks to join in the farm’s mission: to develop emotionally, economically, environmentally enhancing agricultural enterprises and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.

egg-mobiles

Contented salad bar beef cows lounge under a portable shade mobile at Polyface on a hot summer day. The Eggmobiles follow closely behind, enabling laying hens to scatter cow patties and eat fly larvae.  Biological sanitation duplicating nature's bird-herbivore symbiosis is a foundation to health and hygiene.  The guard goose watches for aerial predators.  Polyface models mobile and scalable infrastructure for pasture-based livestock systems throughout its production.

chicken-processing

On-farm processing at Polyface offers environmental bio-security (chickens don’t scatter feathers all over public roads) and value-added opportunity in pastured broilers. With simple, low-cost processing infrastructure available today, highly efficient small-scale farmstead production is now possible and profitable. Benchmark throughput is 20 birds per person per hour.

mobile-boilers

Mobile boiler shelters offer pastured birds a new salad bar, new lounge area, and new bugs every morning.  Vacated squares behind the shelters quickly recuperate in newly fertilized forages. At Polyface benchmark: one person can move 4,500 broilers an hour without any more equipment than a small, customized hand dolly. To date, the farm has never lost a broiler to a hawk.  This model facilitates debt-free embryonic entry and subsequent scaling.

gobble-dygo

Pastured turkeys enjoy expansive paddocks defined and protected by electrified netting.  The “Gobbledygo” offers mobile shelter and roosts for flocks of 400 birds. Moved every couple of days, the turkeys stack an additional income to broilers, cattle, and laying hens. The multi-enterprises substantially increase income per acre and offer pathogen control through biological diversity.

2020 Mother Earth News Fair at Polyface Farm update!

polyface-farms
Sawmill and dining pavilion.

The Mother Earth News Fair team could not be more thrilled to collaborate with the Salatin family on this one-of-a-kind adventure! The FAIR at Polyface Farm will take place July 17-18, 2020. (That’s a Friday/Saturday, by the way.)

table-gathering

On Tuesday, July 9, I had the opportunity to visit Polyface with my colleague and senior producer Robert Riley for a day of strategic planning along with some delicious food and kinship. The day was very productive! The team spent the morning walking the grounds, bouncing ideas around on how we would handle what we anticipate to be a substantial crowd. We connected our experience managing large events with their intimate knowledge of the land, roads, and structures around the farm. By lunch time we had an inspiring, collective vision on what this amazing event would look like.

polyface-kitchen
The legendary egg washing machine.

After lunch, the discussion moved to programming. Ever since our first conversations with Joel and Daniel, we all recognized that hosting the Mother Earth News Fair on a working, living farm would present some unique opportunities to highlight some of the elements and procedures that are critical to the operation (many invented by them and now replicated at farms around the world). Sitting around the kitchen table, we talked about this opportunity to create a mix of traditional “staged” workshop areas combined with “Points of Interest” around the farm. Attendees can expect NEW workshops from both first time and returning speaker-authors as well as unique interactions with active farm operations helmed by Polyface’s legion of interns and apprentices. This is your chance to experience live chicken processing, learn about the carbon shed, view egg mobiles, and discover Polyface Farm exclusives like Rakens (rabbit/chicken hutches) and the “Millennium Feathernet”—Plus so much more!

chicken-processing

We will be posting periodic updates about this event here on this blog. Advance registration will be open in October. If you are interested in exhibiting, shoot us an e-mail at info@motherearthnewsfair.com. If you have ideas about the programming for this unique event or things you would like to see, we want to know! Take a quick three-question survey, which will also register you to win a pair of passes!

polyface-farms
Talking though the wagon/shuttle drop off location.







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