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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

Joel Salatin: The Ron Paul of Family Farmers

•, By Ginny Garner

Sitting on a picnic bench across from Joel Salatin on a beautiful day on Polyface Farm in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, I am struck with how much the farmer, author and lecturer reminds me of Ron Paul: Mission-driven, a leader who has inspired millions around the world, a Christian, family man, libertarian, self-sufficient, charismatic, energetic, enterprising, optimistic, hard-working, a teacher, a communicator, a brilliant unorthodox thinker, confident yet humble, good-humored, athletic, frugal, and possessing a strong bearing and commanding presence. A great and good man.

If you type the question "Who is the most famous farmer in the world?" into Google, the result is Joel Salatin. He has appeared in many documentaries on factory farming and/or the rogue food movement including Polyfaces, Food Inc., Fresh, Revolution Food, Sustenance, Freedom From Choice, What's With Wheat?, American Meat, and At the Fork. Ron Paul also appears in Farmageddon which shows government agents swat teaming family farmers for selling raw milk, destroying their animals and their livelihoods. Salatin has written 12 books, lectured all over the world, edits the Stockman Grass Farmer, and the self-described "lunatic farmer" shares his musings online.

Four generations of Salatins live and work at Polyface: Joel's mother Lucille who originally owned the 550-acre farm with her husband Bill who passed away in 1988; Joel, Teresa, his wife of 40+ years, their daughter Rachel who does marketing for the farm, and son Daniel who has been managing the farm since he was 18, his wife Sheri and their three children. The farm provides food for 3,000 in the community and local restaurants.

At Polyface Farm simple farming methods are modified by new technologies. The farm is regenerative, sustainable and organic: no pesticides, chemical fertilizers or antibiotics have ever been used and seeds have never been planted. The carbon-based ecosystem is teaming with life. The movement of the animals and their meeting with grass on the farm is carefully and lovingly managed. High-tech fencing keeps the animals in and the predators out. The cows, chickens, hens, baby chicks, and rabbits look healthy and content and so does the team who work on the farm. People travel from all over the world to visit Polyface, take a tour, participate in summits, and learn how to start or develop their own farms.