Joel Salatin: a Beyond Organic Local Food Activist

The local food movement has steadily gained ground since its beginnings in the 1970s, and Virginia farmer Joel Salatin has become one of its biggest movers.


| August/September 2009



joel salatin local food - polyface farm spread

Joel Salatin and his family walk the walk, raising pastured livestock at Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA as part of a longstanding commitment to local food.


PHOTO: RICHARD JEONG

Joel Salatin is a farmer at the forefront of the return to local food and grass-fed meat. He's best known for his innovative techniques for raising and selling grass-fed meat, his books and articles about farming, and for being outspoken about government regulations that make life difficult for small farmers. His most recent book is Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front.

Hold on to your hat! Here are Salatin's candid thoughts on government regulations, vegetarians, the organic food industry, and making money at farming.

Tell us a little about Polyface Farm.

We're located eight miles southwest of Staunton, VA, in the Shenandoah Valley on 550 acres (100 open and 450 forest). We also lease four farms, totaling an additional 900 acres of pasture. We sell "salad bar" (grass-fed) beef, pastured pork, pastured poultry (both broilers and turkeys, as well as eggs) and forage-based rabbits.

Your livestock and poultry are “grass-fed,” and your farm is “beyond organic.” Do you find people are familiar with those terms?

Public awareness is definitely up. In the 1970s, when I was selling grass-finished beef and pastured poultry, nobody had even heard of the word "organic," much less "grass-finished." Now, thanks to best-selling authors such as Jo Robinson and Michael Pollan, the awareness is huge.

aggiemom98
7/4/2017 1:30:05 AM

I think this is great !!! I wish I was back in my 20's again and know what I know now !! I knew that would come back to me sooner or later !! But I am 65 now and have 7.5 acres but too old to handle it all ..... my 67 year old husband is not healthy enough for too much. Kudos to you !!!






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