“I am first and foremost a farmer, but not a very ordinary farmer,” states Joel Salatin on his website. “In fact, I’m known as a Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic.”
If those sound like fightin’ words, you’re right – because few people are as passionate about fighting for a healthy earth, a healthy farm, and healthy food as this pugilistic planter.
Background of Joel Salatin and Polyface Farm
Joel Salatin and his family run Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. His parents purchased the “worn-out, eroded, abused” property in 1961. They set out not just to restore the land’s fecundity, but to crystallize innovative farming principles based on healthy techniques completely at odds with what most commercial farmers employ. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and Polyface Farm is a place of healthy livestock and balanced management.
The success – as Salatin himself defines success – has been astounding. “When my parents bought this farm,” he relates, “it was completely worn out – gullies 16 feet deep, large areas with bare shale rock, no vegetation whatsoever. Today, all those areas have a foot of soil. It’s not three feet deep like 500 years ago, but it’s a foot more than it was 60 years ago.”
The Meaning Behind Polyface Farm
Is it any wonder Salatin feels such passion for the earth beneath his feet? “Our Polyface slogan is ‘Healing the land one bite at a time,’” says Salatin. “Our mission statement is far-reaching: To develop agricultural prototypes that are environmentally, economically, and emotionally enhancing and facilitate their duplication throughout the world.”
Salatin is upfront about his motivation. “It’s very simple,” he says. “What a privilege to be able to walk out the back door every day knowing that I can participate in the redemption of Creation. To extend redemptive work beyond spiritual into the physical as an object lesson of divine truth … now that’s something you can devote your life to. It’s a sacred enough and big enough mission to enthuse any young person.”
Even the name – Polyface – has significance. The “many faces” of Polyface Farm include thumbing his nose at bureaucratic “organic” certification that means little beyond reams of government paperwork but with no appreciable healing of the land. (Salatin calls his meat “beyond organic.”)
The principles by which Salatin runs his farm (including sales only to local buyers, no shipping) should mean his fame stays local, but in fact the opposite is true. Thanks to a series of radical books (including Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front and The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer), radical articles, radical podcasts, and other in-your-face defenses of holistic farm management, Joel Salatin’s fame runs wide and deep.
Meet Joel Salatin at Lehman’s
Lehman’s is proud to host Joel Salatin as the keynote speaker for their Country Living Workshop, June 30, 2018. Come to Kidron, Ohio to hear this scrappy, humorous, honest farmer explain how food production can be so much more than it is now.
“It’s possible to be a farmer and not sell your soul,” Salatin says. He’s living proof – and more importantly, so is his farm.
Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for more upcoming info about Lehman’s Country Living Workshop by visiting our store events page!