“There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept responsibility for changing them” -Denis Waitley
The daily choices we make, even the seemingly mundane ones, hold a lot more power and influence than we’d like to think. This was the thought I was left with after having listened to Joel Salatin, a 3rd generation organic farmer & author, give his speech at the 11th Annual “Changing Tides” Convention, that took place a few weeks ago. Gracing us with his presence, Mr. Salatin stood proudly behind the podium and took the crowd by storm with his preacher-like charisma, poignant words, and slight jabs of humor (I mean, did you see his pig tie?).
And, just to back up a bit, the very first time I saw Joel Salatin was during a viewing of the award-winning documentary-film, Food Inc., which I probably watched about three times because the film was that shockingly good. So, naturally, when I found out that Joel Salatin would be attending the convention, I was ecstatic like a child and happier than a grass-fed cow (lol).
So, today, I’d like to share with you Salatin’s viewpoint on Industrial farming, as well as how he managed to stay ‘organic’ yet systematic; and my ‘3 big take aways’ from Salatin’s speech on “The Food and Farm Reformation,” since these take aways have influenced me to make more meaningful consumer choices – especially when it comes to supporting local farms in my area (something that I believe most of us can do a better job of).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy. As a busy woman, I can understand the lure of going to a nearby supermarket to purchase last minute produce and products (rather than waiting for the next farmer’s market). And I totally get that the grocery store is prized for its convenience and open hours, but after listening to several local farmers, like Salatin, tell their stories I honestly can’t imagine skipping out on local farm produce anymore.
If you think about it, it’s a luxury to have locally-grown, fresh food at the fingertips, especially now more than ever. And if you feel that convenience is truly a factor, know you can always have local produce boxes delivered right to your doorstep. So, there you have it, toss out the whole “I’m too busy to support local farmers” excuse!
Salatin’s POV on Industrial Farming
Salatin spoke about how he has managed to veer away from a “mechanical viewpoint” that rejects “heritage wisdom,” in the name of innovation, and operates on substandard ideals that threaten the public’s health. Because WHERE do we draw the line with an agri-industrial system that is constantly striving for bigger and better progress (with little regard for all else)?
Salatin made it clear that he opposed the idea of “feeding cows with cows” when this ‘efficient’ action plan was, at one point point, suggested by certain agencies. In fact, he even received criticism from other farmers who had implemented this shall we call it – canni-ballistic plan, that might’ve been responsible for some of the latest meat epidemics. Yikes. But Salatin bravely stood his ground, and continues to do so today, by allowing his cows to roam and graze freely within an organized, anti-chemical system that has proven sustainable.
And, though, some might label this Organic farmer’s practices as “orthodox,” Salatin clarified that he isn’t anti-innovation, but rather, he’s against innovation that knows no boundary. He questioned,
“Just because we can, should we?” (in regards to man’s relentless manipulation of nature)
Today, Salatin has managed to maintain the integrity of his farm, Polyface, through innovative thinking + eco-friendly technology that emulates and mimics biology and its natural patterns – something that he believes can be globally sustainable with time and patience (and perhaps some reverse engineering).
Salatin’s Sustainable Proposition:
When asked by a Nutrition professional if eliminating chemical fertilizer was possible in today’s world, Salatin responded,
“With enough carbon being wasted, if we converted it into compost it would replace chemical fertilizer.”
He jokingly (although a bit seriously) hopes to make “modern composting” the next big Manhattan project one day. Sounds like a great plan, now if only we can get Oprah to help out on this one….
3 ‘Take Aways’ Encouraged by Salatin:
1. If you want to do something about these issues, Guess what? You can! Support your local farmers and what they do. Trust me, they want to connect with their local community as much as possible. Not sure how to find them? Check out eatwild.com for a list of local farms in your area.
2. Don’t be afraid to visit your local farm and ask them about certifications (100% organic vs. organic). But, just so you know – chances are that some of the local farms you visit still use some form of pesticide, though it’s probably much, much less than what’s used commercially.
3. Let me list a few perks of buying farm fresh produce: it’s fresher (duh!), oftentimes you get more bulk for less (cost-effective), you get what’s in season (without having to research), you are placed in a position to cook more home-made meals (which is much healthier for you), you get rich variety in your diet (which = optimal nutrition), you get to explore new fruit and veggie frontiers (which is fun + adventurous), and, best of all, you help local farmers stay in business. 🙂
Photo credit: (unknown)/ In the Pic: Colleague Valentina, Mr. Joel Salatin, Maritza Worthington
ModernHolisticLife Disclosure Statement:
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.