Soils ain't Soils

Published 11th December 2010

Last week over 140 local people turned out on a Sunday evening to listen to a public talk by Joel Salatin of PolyFace Farms in Virginia, USA. His introduction was by the hilarious, very passionate, and hirsute Costa of Costa's Gardening Odyssey who always enjoys coming to this region to learn more about gardening and regenerative agriculture.

Joel’s Poly Face Farm is a small property with an array of animals and food crops that symbiotically produce a richness of food products in a diversified system that is profitable. He calls himself a ‘beyond’ organic farmer as he is not ‘certified’ organic but uses a holistic farming methodology that enriches the soil with compost, natural manure and earthworms and without chemicals or pesticides. Using portable electric fences the animals are moved around the property is succession in what Joel calls a ‘salad bar’ of rich pasture that offers landscape healing and greater nutritional food.

Joel works on the transparency theory; he doesn’t have to have a certificate to tell people about his farming methods, you can visit anytime to see what and how he does it. He sells produce to only people within a radius of his community and doesn’t need the ‘big guys’. His product sells through ‘word of mouth’ and he doesn’t have a marketing plan or an advertising budget for his product…and if sales are down, he can’t blame his budget, he looks within!

He talked about how the price of food has escalated due to the many regulations and control and was amused at the governments concern for safety in not allowing a more nutritional raw milk, yet its okay to feed your kids on multinational brand burgers, sweet chocolate breakfast cereals and fizzy drinks.

Joel is a world-leading example of how a small family farm can become an extremely diverse and profitable Local Food producer, and how the benefits of Local Food Systems can create resilience, stability and abundance for both local farmers and the wider community.

Joel’s parting words were ‘The food we eat is as good as the soil it is grown in or the pasture it is fed on and as good as the farmer who is the custodian of the land’. Eat well!

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1 comment:

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