American farmer Joel Salatin, the star of the documentary Food Inc, has become a "pin up boy" for the growing food "re-localization" movement. On a recent visit to Canberra, he gives his take on food politics after a lifetime of experience in natural and profitable farming.
Salatin came to prominence with his ideas about creating abundance on a family farm. His methods include learning how to mimic nature and arrange the facets of farm life so they don't operate as independent operations, but rather a system of "intertwined cycles."
Disregarding conventional wisdom, the Salatins planted trees, built huge compost piles, dug ponds, moved cows daily with portable electric fencing, and utilized portable sheltering systems to produce all their animals on perennial prairie polycultures.
Salatin believes we’re now living through an age of a "food inquisition", not unlike the religious inquisition of 500 years ago, where the powers behind industrialized agriculture and food production are putting heretical farmers like him "on the rack."
In this talk, organized by Milkwood Permaculture in association with Slow Food Canberra, Salatin lays out twelve false assumptions peddled by the "inquisitors," which sustainable farming methods counter.
Joel Salatin has been featured in Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and in the films Fresh and Food Inc. He is also the author of six books including Family Friendly Farming, Salad Bar Beef, and his latest, Everything I Want To Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front. He is a full-time farmer of the highly successful Polyface Farms, and winner of the Heinz International Award for Environmental Leadership.
Author and farmer Joel Salatin argues that the "food police" have a corporate mentality that discriminates against small farms and artisan food producers. "The antidote to pathogenic food is precluded from innovating into food commerce because of the prejudice against small scale operations," says Salatin. "All innovation requires embryonic prototypes."
Joel Salatin imagines an ideal environment for breeding pathogens and disease, a depiction that shockingly describes most modern industrial agricultural facilities. Stressing the backwardness of regulations, Salatin mockingly explains, "But it's OK if we zap it with some radiation a thousand miles away out here at the food processing plant. That's food safety."